Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Aakrosh -- A complete Political Movie!

Very few movies made in India have a strong political content to it. Also, either the content is very latent and can easy be scooped up or it is underlying and has to be dug deep into, to retrieve it. In Aakrosh's case, the content is all over, the dynamics of caste-reality, class oppression, state oppression, etc are not just spread wafer thin over the movie but hang over the air densely.

At the same time, the movie has deep lying concepts, that of humiliation, dignity and self-respect, which have to be picked out by the discerning viewer. All-in-All, Aakrosh is a powerful film, and it is apt that actors of sublime talent have been casted in this masterpiece, directed by Govind Nihalani.

Aakrosh is about a trial of a tribal played powerfully by Om Puri, whose trial lawyer is played excellently by Naseeruddin Shah, who fights this case against his own mentor, the State Public Prosecutor, essayed by Amrish Puri.

Shah's role is as an uppercaste lawyer, who adheres to sincerity, work ethic, belief in the power of the law, which for him is benign. The lawyer believes that justice can be wrought out from the liberal institutions that have been established by the state, provided he acts out his role as the supporting hand. His incessant pleas to a recalcitrant, phlegmatic and silent, disbeliever in the law, the tribal played by Om Puri, show his sincerity. The tribal has been subjected to the worst iniquity of the rotten State. His wife has been brutalized by the Sarkari Doctor alongwith other cronies such as the venal Municipal Corporator, the corrupt Police In-charge and with the collusion of the casteist, exploitative Forest Contractor. The tragic thing is that the tribal is implicated for his wife's murder and he very nearly accepts it, for the sake of his father, sister and infant child's safety.

That, the entire organs of the State is responsible for the perpetration of injustice on the exploited Tribal people is very clear from this movie. What is to be filtered out is the nuantical statements that are hidden behind the tragic veneer.

The Public Prosecutor, is played by Amrish Puri. The prosecutor himself is from the Adivasi community, who has reached his position of eminence by dint of his work. Yet, he has "sanskritized" himself. He no longer empathises with his fellow community people and almost feels humiliated by reference to them. Inwardly he feels an inferiority complex within himself owing to his caste. Notice, his angry but silent acceptance of the taunts that he has to suffer on the telephone by crank callers who abuse him on his caste.

The lawyer played by Shah, meanwhile, is too much confident about the efficacy of the judicial system that has been set up with liberal intentions. He envisages that he can help, attain justice for the tribal. The Naxalite, who is working in the Tribal village, however, is not convinced. He taunts the lawyer as being yet another "petty bourgeois" person, incapable of fighting the contradictions in society.

The tribal, played by Puri, is the one whose condition is most tragic. He knows that he wouldn't get justice, all he is worried about is the condition of his family members. His father dies and he realizes that his sister can face the same harm that his deceased wife faced. For a tribal, dignity is paramount; justice comes secondary. He kills his sister with an axe, therefore. He lets out his anger in a bursting out cry where there is welled up frustration and anger, against the system, against the order of things, here, the State.

Aakrosh is a reminder of how the failure of the State and its institutions in its most rotten forms could result in complete injustice. Aakrosh shows the vulnerability of the most hinter lands of our country toward extra-state and extra-constitutional trends. A movie made in 1980, it is relevant even today. As the tribal areas of Chattisgarh, Jharkhand, Telengana are increasingly being held hostage by Naxalism, the question to be asked is why has this happened? Is it because of the debauchery and failure of the State institutions in these areas? What is required is urgent redressal of the situation.

1 comment:

Keshav said...

Your review was really nice. your analysis of the characters and the feelings they expose was as articulate as it could be.

Good work.