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GHAR (1978) - Rekha’s most relevant movie in the present times which is ironically more famous for its music, instead of the bold-socially relevant theme. (Movies To See Before You Die - Drama)

27 Oct, 2009 | Articles on Cinema / Movies To See Before You Die / Drama

The enigmatic Rekha has a vast repertoire of films including many classics of Hindi Cinema as NAMAK HARAAM, DHARMATAMA, ALAAP, MUQADDAR KA SIKANDAR, KHOOBSOORAT, KALYUG, SILSILA, UTSAV, IJAAZAT, AASTHA and more. But there is one film that can be surely quoted as her most relevant film in the present times aptly titled GHAR, revolving around the painful trauma and humiliation faced by an innocent rape victim and the newly married couple shifted to their new house.

Very few movies are based on stories capable of shaking the viewers with a shock treatment and making them. Very rarely comes a realistic story on the screen which sends shivers down your spine and makes you feel sorry for the characters facing the unexpected tragedy. “Ghar” is one of those rare well directed movies from Bollywood, having an unfortunate story to tell which happens to be both realistic and disturbing at the same time.
The film not only focuses on the victim girl but also on her helpless, confused husband who desperately tries but fails to save his wife from the local goons met on a deserted road while returning from a late night film show. The harsh and unkind tragedy changes the whole outlook of the couple towards life, but they still manage to face it together making a courageous comeback fighting both with their own identities and the cruel, unconcerned society around.
Winning Filmfare Award for the Best Story, GHAR had a unique plot presenting Rekha in a ‘never before’ kind of avatar, glimpses of which were seen in her ALAAP released a year before in 1977. But with GHAR, she actually surprised all and demanded a much more serious consideration as a sincere actor both from the industry (with a Filmfare Nomination for Best Actress) as well as the ruthless media more interested in her affairs and spicy gossips.
Unarguably among her top five performances, Rekha in GHAR makes you feel the fear, pain, embarrassment and grief felt by her traumatised character in the most believable way that touches deep inside even after almost four decades in the present grim and scary scenario. Well supported by Vinod Mehra as the husband and a talented supporting cast including Dinesh Thakur (the story, screenplay and dialogue writer of the film), GHAR finds its respectable place in the list of most poignant onscreen portrayals of a woman’s unstable emotional state and inner conflicts till date in our Hindi cinema.
Directed by Manik Chatterjee, it thoughtfully paints a revealing picture of the city or for that matter every metro city focusing on the neighborhood, the people, the authorities and the police officials dealing with the case in their own distinctive ways. Sadly Chatterjee could only make two movies in his lifetime as a director and his second movie also featured Rekha in and as BAHURANI released in 1989 (after a long delay).
Apart from its courageous theme, GHAR has a fabulous music composed by R.D. Burman with lyrics by Gulzar. And its one of their finest soundtracks together with musical gems as “Aaj Kal Paon Mere”, “Tere Bina Jiya Jaaye Na”, “Phir Wohi Shaam Hai” & “Aap Ki Ankhon Mein Kuchh”. Ironically more famous for its soundtrack than the important theme & performances, the film’s music also gives us the indication of a very fine sense of music & lyrics in its directorManik Chatterjee, extracting such great work from both RDB and Gulzar.
In all, GHAR will always be remembered as one of the most sensitive and effective woman-oriented films made in Hindi Cinema. So, if you haven't seen it yet, then just go for it at the earliest and realize the huge difference in the approach of our master filmmakers of the past courageously making films on such socially relevant themes finding the middle path.

Directed By Manik Chatterjee
Starring : Rekha, Vinod Mehra, Dinesh Thakur, Prema Narayan & more.
Music by R. D. Burman

(Edited form of this write-up also got featured in the UC-News Mobile App in October 2017)

(Below are some additional pointers about the film as an exclusive BTC write-up)
Keeping in mind that specific era of the late 70s, GHAR can easily be called a project much ahead of its times coming up with such a bold subject and a thoughtful conclusion when ‘The Angry Young Man’ was the most followed and successful concept in our Hindi films. The parallel cinema movement was in full swing too, but GHAR thankfully came as one rare daring attempt that neither was interested in presenting its storyline in any dark, off-beat tone, nor was willing to take some unfair advantage of its mature subject bowing down to the routine requirement of a commercial Hindi film. It tried to find the middle path and remained successful in its sincere attempt too with praises received both from the critics as well as the thinking audience becoming a significant path-breaking film. 
And that was the reason the film won the Filmfare Award for the Best Story in 1978 along with many other major nominations including the Best Actress.
Ironically, GHAR at present is more remembered for its songs instead of the so relevant theme as a landmark film to be very honest. Many of the youngsters would have surely heard the songs but not seen the film, onus for which is on the current trend that largely remains interested in the new mega releases and their crores earned, instead of rediscovering the classics making them essentially reach the present young generation. 
Adding to the ironies related with the film, until the internet revolution, many widely considered GHAR to be a Gulzar film, mainly due to its hugely famous songs with the Gulzarish touch and RDB being there too. As per a few unconfirmed reports Gulzar did venture in for a while when the director met an accident during the film’s making. But whether it’s true or not, one cannot take the credit away from the director Manik Chatterjee as GHAR simply remains his film from the very first frame to the last without any slightest of doubt. Having said that, it certainly enhances the product, when you have names like Dinesh Thakur, R. D. Burman, Gulzar and Waman Bhonsle-Gurudutt Shirali (the editors) as a part of your exceptional team bringing in their invaluable expert inputs.
For instance, just watch out for the sequence where Rekha gets abducted and Vinod Mehra seriously injured on a lonely road at night. Without going into any extreme, the director and his editors (the award winning Waman-
Guru) force you to feel the anger and helplessness with fast intercuts, sound and use of handheld camera. Further without having any clear visuals of the gang-rape they convey it all through extreme close-ups, eyes and expressions of a suffering, fearful lady and her puzzled husband fighting hard to get out of his own guilt.
In short, if you haven’t seen GHAR yet and just assume that you have somehow seen it, because of an over familiarity with its soundtrack being a die-hard RDB or Gulzar fan, then do yourself a favour and watch the film, since GHAR is much more than its great compositions and lyrics giving them their due respect.

Ghar DVD released by Ultra

However revealing a shocking news, just a couple of years back renowned journalist-filmmaker Khalid Mohamed wrote an important article on the lost gems of Indian Cinema, in which he informed that that the original print of GHAR has also been lost now forever among many other films. And this is nothing short of a loud scary alarm since here we are talking about a film made in the late 70s and not a venture from the early 40s or 50s. 
In addition, just recently when I ordered a DVD of the film released by ULTRA, I found ‘Winner of 2 Filmfare Awards” printed on the top mentioning BEST STORY and BEST ACTRESS in bold capital letters (as shared in the picture). Whereas in reality the film won only the BEST STORY award and Rekha got her first nomination in the reputed BEST ACTRESS category losing it to Nutan in the year 1979.
Putting it differently, there is a lot that needs to be done both in terms of preserving and presenting such great films to our next generation in the right form. But that can only be possible if cinema is given equal importance as the cultural heritage of our country and nothing less than that. 

Tags : Ghar (1978) Review by Bobby Sing at bobbytalkscinema.com, Movies To See Before You Die List by Bobby Sing, Must See Movies List by Bobby Sing, Not To Be Missed Hindi Films
27 Oct 2009 / Comments ( 4 )

This DVD has been sitting in my collection for MONTHS, i have to set time aside to watch it ASAP.

Bobby Sing

Ya, do see it asap and let me know how do you rate it from your side.


It\'s great film. And the song -- Aaj kal paon zamin par nahin padte mere.. classic!

Bobby Sing

Ya, it surely is..
Thanks for your comment and Keep Visiting.


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