Every once in a blue moon comes a film that reinstalls my faith in Indian cinema, a film that tells a story without boorish subplots, bad acting and embarrassing attempts at humour. Based on a true story, Antardwand has come at the right time, when movies are being made mostly for the purpose of making the filmmaker and the already overpaid actors (sorry, I meant superstars) richer, irrespective of how poor the film may be.
Raghuvir (Raj Singh Chaudhury), who studies in Delhi, wants to marry his pregnant girlfriend, and comes home to a village in Bihar to inform his mother and seek his father’s permission. The father (Vinay Pathak, superb) has other plans; he has already found a suitable bride for his only son and is busy turning down other offers. He pooh-poohs Raghuvir’s wish, and the angry son leaves for Delhi early next morning.
But Raghuvir doesn’t reach Delhi; he gets abducted by Akhilendra Singh’s goons and is confined in a small house temporarily, where he is beaten up and tortured in other ways at regular intervals till he agrees to marry Akhilendra Singh’s daughter.
Are you shocked? You better be. This isn’t a funny movie, it’s dead serious. Raghuvir is forced to get drunk on local liquor on his wedding night, which he fumbles through in the stupor. Refusing to accept Akhilendra Singh’s daughter Janki as his wife, he remains upset and makes his young bride miserable. Heavily pressurized to consummate the marriage, Raghuvir gets very drunk one night…
Antardwand does not seek to entertain; it is a drama that will leave you stunned. Antardwand is one of those rare films in which the script and actors do complete justice to each other. It is not a commercial movie, but it isn’t even a boring artsy flick; it may not have a point to make but it has a great story to tell.
At last, some real cinema… and really good cinema.
By Aditya Mehta