Antardwand | Film Review

Antardwand

You remember the promotional campaign for this film featured here?

There is a buzz around the film as it is the winner of the 55th National Awards for a film in the Social Issues category.

Release Date: 27th August 2010
Director: Sushil Rajpal
Cast: Raj Singh Chaudhary, Swati Sen, Vinay Pathak, Akhilendra Mishra, Jaya Bhattacharya

Antardwand

Most people who have worked on the film have graduated from or are students of the Film & Television Institute of India (FTII). That is quite evident.

The subject is a sensitive one: groom kidnapping in a remote state of India and the various lives the incident affects.

The film picks up pace in the opening sequence itself as one watches the lead actor (Raj Singh Chaudhary) travel on a train. Through flashbacks, the audience is made aware of the existence of a pregnant girlfriend (Himanshi). To inform the parents (Vinay Pathak) of their decision to marry, given the circumstance, the boy is shown to return home. After much discussion and heartbreak, as the boy is returning to his girlfriend, he is kidnapped. A few days of torture later, he is informed that he will be marrying the daughter of the kidnapper (Swati Sen). A tumultuous marriage, attempted escapes, a coming of age of the girl made to forcefully marry and a confrontation with parents and a pregnant girlfriend form the rest of the plot.

Such practices (marriage by kidnap, marriage by force) are prevalent in states like Bihar. Hence, it doesn’t come as a surprise. But a large part of the audience is unaware of the goings-on of other states of the country. To them it may seem bizarre. It is a provoking subject to deal with but it has been handled with subtlety and the right amount of sensitivity.

To watch it from the point of view of a victimized man is a refreshing change. Perhaps, the audience’s numbness and awareness to the plight of a woman has increased. The relationships portrayed in the film, be that of father-son (Vinay Pathak-Raj Singh Chaudhury) or father-daughter (Swati Sen-Akhilendra Mishra) or sisters-in-law (Swati Sen-Jaya Bhattacharya) are poignant and beautifully drawn.

The accuracy with which shots have been constructed deserve special mention. Again, the production design is flawless. The dialogues (Amitabh Verma), appropriately have a local flavour and are hard-hitting when required. Most importantly, great performances have been extracted from all the actors.

The only problem with such a film is that it acquires a serious tone. The audience has not been seen to provide a warm reception to such films. While the critics may love it, will the audience give it a chance? How does one market such a film to rake in the numbers?