You barely find a movie in bollywood where someone works hard to make their ends meet, and is treated like filth when the time comes to grant him/her the honour to live respectfully in their due time. Bollywood rarely makes films on marginalised community. In parts of UP and Bihar you will find a lot of people who sing and dance to make their ends meet and being treated like prostitutes. I am not sure if anybody has made any effort to showcase their story until Anarkali of Arrah happened. Anarkali of Arrah is a perfect “Seeti Maar” movie.
Avinash Das’s effort is an audacious move for anyone as a debutante director. Only brave ones can try to tell such a story on their maiden attempt. The movie throw into light the nexus between police, politicians to torment the lower class people who struggle hard to earn some respect in society.
Anarkali like her mother, takes over the reign as a performer or erotic dancer in a small remote village in Arrah. Her mother was shot dead by a drunk neta who flaunt his rifle as she pirouetted on stage. As a true daughter, she learned all the right art from her mother and took over where her mother left. Unlike her mother, she is unyielding, brave and would dare anyone who takes panga with her. She isn’t rich but she is brave and bold. She lives her life in her own terms. Rangeela who is from her troupe is always by her side no matter what happens. In fact, he is the one who hails the morale of Anarkali.
Story takes a turn when a corrupt Vice Chancellor of a local University stakes claim to Anarkali’s body and sexuality. With money, power and politicians in his side, he doesn’t like to take a NO from anyone. But Anarkali isn’t one to coerce too. When he tries to apply force on Anarkali she shoves him off curtly.
Like the earlier movie “Pink”, this is also about NO. Anarkali doesn’t want to get involved with anyone because she wants business in her own terms. She doesn’t want to be ruled by others. Just because Anarkali sings and dances raunchy numbers, does that give anyone the right to take her for a ride? The lilting songs and coarse lyrics attract the attention. The bucolic scenes and dialogs plays an vital part of the movie. Swara Bhaskar has got a role of lifetime after “Nil Baatey Sanata” where the entire movie runs on her shoulder. She has flawlessly amazed & warranted her character; Pankaj Tripathi has Rangeela plays the ideal associate to her but knowing his talent he could have been utilized much better.
What stands out in the story isn’t just one, not two but many factors. Swara Bhaskar holds the rhythm of audience till the end of the movie. Sanjay Mishra holds his citadel securely. Pankaj Tripathi plays just perfect. Anwar, the young actor who has a crush on Anarkali is equally good. Music, sound & cinematography, dialogs have been given remarkable thought into. But more than all these, Anarkali of Arrah showcases a woman who is fearless enough not to shed tears when the world falls apart around her, she fights back, she fights back all alone against all odds. She shows how a woman stands for her rights all alone to hold their dignity in place. She shows that there can be heroes among women too.
The question remains unanswered however at the end of narrative. Can we ever respect women who work all their way on streets to make their ends meet? Can we respect women who perform item numbers?