Films like Anaarkali of Araah arent made everyday. And we even don’t get to see such performances everyday.
Anaarkali, played by Swara Bhaskar lives a very normal life of being a ‘nachaniya’ as they call her with her partner Rangeela played by the great Pankaj Tripathi. Things go haywire when she is assaulted on stage by the head of the University, Sanjay Mishra. And the rest is her struggle – her struggle against the society, the cops, her friends, and even herself.
Debutant director Avinash Das has held everything in place. Nothing is too much and nothing is over exaggerated. In fact, anything less would have seemed artificial. The houses in Bihar, the old lanes of Delhi, the stage, the studio, everything is just perfectly crafted and captured.
The great direction drives this narrative, but the brilliant acting is what puts a life in it. Swara Bhaskar, Pankaj Tripathi and Sanjay Mishra need no praise at all. They are all terrific. Pankaj Tripathi as the gang leader of the band whose wife has run away with the doodhwala brings every nuance of his character to the table without a hint of doubt. Sanjay Mishra’s character is a tharki. And no matter how seedha saadha Mishra is in real life, you will think he is a tharki in real life also. He is so convincing.
But this is a Swara Bhaskar show. We saw her last in Ashwini Iyyer Tiwari’s Nil Battey Sannata playing a maid servant who knows the value of education. Anaarkali is uneducated and dances for people, but thats all she does. When assaulted, even by a man in power, she knows how to show him his place and says – I can’t really say what she says so I’ll just say beep – “beep ho, beep se kam ho, ya biwi ho, ainda pooch ke haath lagaiyega”.
The movie leaves us with the message that Taapsee Pannu’s Pink had left us with – NO means NO. You might think that it is not original, but thats not all about the movie. Above everything, the movie teaches you how to fight for your rights.
And what acts as a highlight in the film are the costumes by Rupa Chaurasia.
All in all, Anaarkali of Aarah is a film that you should not miss. It might leave you a little disturbed, but all in a good sense.
If I had to rate the film, it has been 8 years since Swara Bhaskar is in this industry and she hasn’t got her due yet… okay…