'Anarkali of Aarah' Too Tells a ‘No’ is a ‘No’!
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Reviewer’s Thumb Mark
Mahatma Gandhi once said – “Of all the evils for which man has made himself responsible, none is so degrading, so shocking or so brutal as his abuse of the better half of humanity; the female sex”.
The film ‘Anarkali of Aarah’ portrays the life of a street singer and dancer in a small town called Aarah in Bihar. Anarkali (Swara Bhaskar) the main protagonist is part of a local orchestra group which performs in wedding and other local events where she is the lead performer who through her seductive moves, lewd lyrics and singing charms her audience. She, for the locals is not less than a celebrity. There are men of all ages who drool over her and cherish a dream to be with her. Anarkali knows her stardom and is fun to see her enjoying her fame and the goodies showered on her by her admirers.
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In one of her public performances a powerful admirer rub her up in the wrong way and when she objects, her life turns topsy-turvy. She being an erotic singer makes everyone feel that she is vulnerable and easily available. But for Anarkali a ‘No’ is a ‘No’. In one of the dialogues she warns her tormentor that whether he considers a woman as a Prostitute, or a bit less than a prostitute or even as his wife, never approach without her consent.
Swara Bhaskar has given a commendable performance. Her body language, accent and her ability to live the character of a Bihari erotic singer and dancer is noteworthy. She received rave reviews for her performance in Nil Battey Sannata and her role in Anarkali of Aarah is a bit more tough and challenging which stands out. Written and directed by Journalist turned filmmaker Avinash Das takes care of the nuances of storytelling very well by treading responsibly the thin line of not being sleazy and vulgar by portraying the life of a nautch girl.
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Swara Bhaskar’s co-star Pankaj Tripathi is an awesome actor. He brings life be it the role of a railway ticketing clerk in the film ‘Masaan’ or the role of a school principal in ‘Nil Battey Sannata’. And now as Rangeela in ‘Anarkali of Aarah’, Pankaj Tripathi has repeatedly proven his acting prowess. Sanjay Mishra is another name in Bollywood who keep surprising the viewers by his amazing performances. Sanjay Mishra as a VC played the role to the hilt.
Music by Rohit Sharma stands apart. Rohit Sharma has been associated with films like ‘Ship of Theseus’ and ‘Buddha in a Traffic Jam’. His music has started catching the fancy of the public. He adds soul to his music.
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‘Anarkali of Aarah’ is a fight against the misogynist beliefs and perceptions of our society. Unequal power relations between men and women result in various forms of male dominance in the form of sexual assault and violence against women. But there are women like Anarkali who are made of a different steel who have the guts and determination to fight back for their self-esteem. Go and watch Anarkali fight her own battle valiantly in a nearby theatre and cheer her wholeheartedly.
Life Connoisseur Movie Rating: 3.25 /5
Cast: Swara Bhaskar (Anarkali), Pankaj tripathy (Rangeela), Sanjay Mishra (Vice Chancellor), Ishhtiaq Arif Khan
Director: Avinash Das
Producers: Priya Kapur, Sandip Kapur
Written by: Avinash Das
Music by: Rohit Sharma
Cinematography: Aravind Kannabiran
Edited by: Jabeen Merchant
Production Company: Promodome Motion Pictures
Distributor: PVR Pictures
Release Date: 24th March, 2017
Duration: 113 Minutes