Sunday, January 18, 2009

Hazaron Khwaishein Aisi - Brilliant chronicle of a turbulent time!

"Not every story has a happily ever after, Vikram!" - Geetha played by Chitarangda Singh says during a lighter moment in this movie. Reality is indeed harsh and cruel and does not provide room to vent out every passion. History is seldom presented to interest the young; more often than not, it becomes a victim of the victorious and the governing...

Lucky are the boys and girls who learn history the way it ought to be learned; teachers and text books can do a lot more in this area. When they fail, it is up to movies and literature to fill in the void. How many of us know the import of the naxalite movement and the emergency? I don't remember reading it in my history texts. I however loved the manner in which Rohinton Mistry told a story of epic proportions set during the emergency.

Ever since hearing about it, I wanted to catch this movie and that wish got realized this weekend when after a discussion on Slumdog Millionaire with my friend, it veered towards हजारों ख्वाहिशें ऐसी. I have never been so moved by the way a movie can convey a story.

This movie is a story of three youngsters Vikram, Siddharth and Geetha played respectively by Shiney Ahuja, Kay Kay Menon and Chitarangda. Geetha and Siddharth like each other and Vikram likes Geetha. Siddharth is moved by the Naxalite movement and feels he can make a difference and bring a change in the "world order". Vikram dismisses this as worthless and is bent on amassing wealth and moving up the influential ladder. Geetha is torn between Siddharth and life's practicalities.

As Siddharth gets sucked in to the movement, he becomes just another participant and Geetha, caught in a marriage she begins to find increasingly uninteresting, abandons it and moves to a village in Bihar with Siddharth. As they navigate the turbulent times, Vikram moves up, yet he longs for his first love. He is ready to do anything for Geetha.

The movie does not try to educate the public, rather it shows how lives are affected by the times; how isolation and indifference are not easy choices to take. It is in this aspect that the movie towers and delivers. Its impact is as some critics have put, "hard-hitting". Some have went on to say that its a political epic. Both are true. It has been made not for the masses but for the discerning viewer who yearns for quality.

The strongly entrenched caste based subjugation, the authentic portrayal of rural India and the undercurrent of political relevance all along shine out. All the three central characters have done great justice to their characters with some finest acting. Director Sudhir Mishra who has co-written the movie, has delivered a gem. Though it would require some knowledge of the times in general, there is sufficient room to appreciate if the viewer is indulgent and receptive to detail.

The dialogues carry a lot of substance. When Siddharth says, "Because I am sick of people like you who sit and pontificate about India, its problems, the oppressive political and social systems and do nothing about it...", in response to a question on his motivation, his passion is all too evident. When later in the movie, he says,"The World hadn't changed in ways that I had wanted it to", its gravity is enormous. The same applies to Geetha when she says, "It is as if this place doesn't exist. Still, people here laugh some times".

Overpowering is the presence of Geetha whose solid characterization and stunning beauty will remain with the viewer long after the movie is over. Her struggle to come to terms with her own self is remarkable. Vikram's fall is very steep. The transformation of the youngsters from college to adulthood stands out for its authenticity. The music is very apt and the lyrics of the songs, especially the "Bavre mann dekhne chala ek sapna", exemplary.

I can go on praising...

It is a pity that the larger public wasn't able to appreciate a movie like this for all its worth. Yet, it will remain one of the finest achievements of Hindi cinema in the decade so far!

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