Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Arth (Meaning) -1983

Arth is one of the few good movies that mahesh bhatt directed.The movie is supposedly a cinematic version of his real life affair.The movie was a bold one given the time frame in which it got released. Viewing it now, you might not realize it.But havn't seen any other movie which talks about empowering women in the early 80's.The story supported by some excellent acting from smitha patil, shabna azmi and kulbushan karbanda makes it stand aside from so many movies of that era.

if chakra's amma wanted a home for herself.Her rival in this movie pooja(shabana azmi) wants the same thing.Pooja brought up in an orphanage, dreams of a home of her own with her husband Inder malhotra(kulbushan karbanda).Inder malhotra a film director on the other hand is having a relationship with actress kavitha sanyal(smita patil).kavitha who suffers from psychotic disorders makes inder divorce her wife pooja.When Pooja starts facing life on her own,she comes across Raj(Raj Kiran) who is a singer.Raj is in love with pooja.At that same time kavitha breaks up with inder.Inder wants to get back with pooja.Pooja's choice is the climax of the movie.

The movie as the name suggests is a search for the meaning of love,marriage, relationships and life itself.The movie ends with raj saying that the courage and self confidence that pooja has at the end of the movie is the real meaning of life.A beautiful ending with a bad smile from shababa azmi.

The movie exposes the mistakes of our male dominated society and the different moral scales we use to measure men & woman,rich & poor.

The awesome Rohini Hattangadi plays a cameo as the maid servent at pooja's house.She supports her drunkard husband , who is having an extra marital relationship. It is a clash of titans with the 2 lead heroines.Shabana azmi and smita patil supposedly were competing against each other in the acting department in ARTH.Smita is a force in the movie.She plays the insecure psychotic person with eratic change of moods beautifully.She is someone who is in constant fear, fearing everything from her loneliness to inder's love.

where as for shabana the change in her character is gradual and subtle.It is the transformation of a dependent housewife into an independent & self confident woman.Pooja gets shocked when she hears about her husband's love for the other woman.Then she pleads with him and her, after that she puts up with everything with the hope that things will change, then she leaves his house still harboring hopes of his return.After starting to face life by herself she gets the confidence and even readies herself to take the responsibility for another life.At that point she is not afraid of anything and is ready to face the world all by herself.Acted well by shabana.

Personally if given a chance i would have given the award to smita(she also had another good movie, baazar that year), but the national award for best actress that year went to shabana azmi.Iam not sure whether it is because ARTH is more about pooja(shabana) rathen than kavitha sanyal(smita patil).Kulbushan as usal does his part perfectly. The weakest of the characters is raj.He is that all good man character that comes in so many stories that deal with hurt women.He falls in love with shabana just like that and is very persitent about that.Gulshan grover plays the role of smitha's assistant and comes in 2,3 scenes.I was surprised to see the young gulshan gover.There is also Siddharth Kak(producer and presenter of surabhi serial) who comes as pooja's friend's husband.

The story is supposedly from mahesh bhat's own life.Mahesh Bhatt was married to Kiran (Pooja and Rahul Bhatt’s mother) and was involved with the parveen babi who had schizophrenia.Parveen babi was supposedly upset with him for portraing her as a person with schizophrenia and she broke up with him after that.But the fact is , the movie turned up good cause mahesh was true to the story.You can see that he himself is selfcritical in the movie.Inder is an egoistic person who takes the women for granted and is happy to do a use and throw.Also the movie shows men(inder, rohini's drunkard husband) in bad light.

The movie won the Best Actress for shabana azmi at the 31st film fare awards.But just the best actress, rest of the awards where swept off by Nihlani's ardh sathya and shekhar kapoor's masoom.Well film fare was Fare in those days.At the national level again only the best actress was awarded to ARTH.Shabana got her 2nd of her 5 national awards and first of her hat trick national awards.That year best actor national award went to kamal for his role in balu mahendra's moondram pirai.

This movie could have been the inspiration for KB's manathil urudhi vendum.Not just on the concept of independent woman, there are other similarities too.Pooja after moving out of her house, starts living with a high class call girl which was same as that of MUV.Other than that they are very different movies, there is not many similarities between them.That credit will go to marupadium.Balu mahendra pretty much remade Arth in tamil as marupadiyum.This is the who and who of marupadiyum characters

revathi - shabana azmi,
rohini - smita patil,
nizhalgal ravi -kulbushan karbanda ,
arvind swami -raj.

If you wondered why there were 3 very soft similar sounding songs in the tamil version.It is cause they were 3 gazhals by jagjit singh in hindi version.

Do you remember arvind swami with guitar.

The music director of arth was jagjith & chithra singh.It has some beautiful gazhals.Lyrics by kaifi azmi(shabana azmi's father).I loved jhuki jhuki yeh nazar , a beautiful song.

Listen to Arth songs here

When i saw the movie i started thinking why would an acclaimed director like balu mahendra remake a movie like Arth ?. that too after 11 years??.Why would he cast rohini out of the blues to play the part of the actress?.Is it because it was played by the darker smita patil or is it just because he likes dark actresses like shoba/archana/Mounika etc.And when i read pithamagan director bala's article in vikatan i used to wonder why he was so mad with his mentor?.Was Balumahendra like mahesh bhatt telling his life story to the world through marupadium ?.I dont know.

Supposedly this is not Balu mahendra's only inspired film.
1.Rettai vaal kuruvi -> Micky & Maude
2.azhiyaadha kolangal->summer of 42
3.Sathi leelaavathi->she devil
4.Olangal -> Man, Woman and a Child

Senthil, thanks for the comment on mine. Arth is now forever etched in my memory for a different reason. I am talking about two decades back when DD had first started telecasting late night films (more like the award winners). Appa had gone to sleep and since it was Ramanavami on that day, I participated as a volunteer to host the deity in the local procession that used to happen in and around our area (basically a round of the deity around four streets).

I was so religiously engrossed in the whole thing that I had forgotten to tell my mom my exact whereabouts. My mom who was initially watching this movie on TV to kill time till I arrived really became panicky and started worrying that something happened to me.

Those days there was not phone and all that and I was not anyway in the habit of generally calling every now and then to inform my whereabouts although I wouldn't venture too far from home.

Finally she woke up my dad who was very irritated on a)losing his sleep and b)with me for making my mom worried. My dad finally caught up with me at the end of the procession and gave me a proper dressing down there itself in front of everyone.

I felt really guilty for making my mom worried and from that day (until today), I always make it a point not to let her get worried about my whereabouts (and with all these modern gadgets also at our disposal it is not that hard :-))

So, worry ka "arth" main samjha us din :-)
hahaha.mukund intresting incident :).Bro...what are u doing at mid night.u r also an owl like me?.BTW Did u tell ur peoples that your are at my blog?? veetla theda poranga :).
Just coming back from War of the Worlds ..Spielberg na Spielberg thaan !!Adichakka Mudiyathu

Butby ur standards of ' Inspired Kamal Hassan ' ,Steven Spieblberg is inspired from Manoj Night Shyamalan as far as this film is considered .

Or u can say Manoj Night Shyamalan is inspired from HG Wells :)
Office katadichitta??.what reason did u say at work :)
Amazing job Senthil. You are unearthing lost treasures. Try the same for Tamil movies also.
would love to .but the prblm is many of the off beat ones are not available in tamil.
i already brooded about that here.

Yes and Yes ..Office la kattu adichu thaan !! I lleft at 3 and said that i have soem 'personal commitments ' :))))
my first visit to your blog...landed thru the middle of my work hours. ended up spending good half hour reading reviews after reviews. excellent writing. you are a good critic. keep it up.
Hi Senthil,

I was searching something and came across ur site. I like the reviews. As far as ARTH is concerned, I have the same thoughts of u. Smita had done better than Shabana & Shabana doesnt deserve a National Award, compared to Sridevi of Moondram Pirai.IMO,Revathi has done the role far better than Shabana.

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