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Khandhar (1984) (Movies To See Before You Die - Drama)

21 Jan, 2014 | Movies To See Before You Die / Drama

Khandhar - Mrinal Sen

KHANDHAR (The Ruins) is unfortunately one of those lesser known or rather forgotten gems of Hindi Cinema directed by the maestro Mrinal Sen, which seriously need to be rediscovered and restored to make them reach a wider audience. In other words, all the worth watching masterpieces like these, need to be revived for our present & coming generations urgently, since we are not into making such meaningful, realistic and life teaching cinema any more in this new age 21st century market of hyped 100 crore star clubs. Further this thoughtfully conceived small film also proves the point that Cinema actually means ‘the art of story-telling’ and one doesn’t need loads of money to visualize a worthy story on the silver screen with a quality vision.
Based on a Bengali short story, Telenapota Abishkar (Discovering Telenapota) by Premendra Mitra, the film is a simple tale of three friends visiting an ancestral house having an old-age picturesque look, which one of the friends wants to capture in his camera. They meet an ailing blind woman living with her young daughter there, who is lovingly looking after the mother, fighting with her own loneliness & inner pain clearly visible on her beautiful face. Actually she has been left alone by her fiancée who has betrayed her and now married another girl in the city, never to return back. The blind mother doesn’t know the fact and she is still waiting for the young man to keep his promise but the girl hasn’t found the courage to tell the real truth to her dying mother yet.
As the three friends visit them, the mother takes the photographer friend to be that young man returning back and that’s where the story takes an emotional turn only to end on a tragic, indecisive note, unexpectedly. Being an artistic take on the sensitive plot, KHANDHAR does move at a slow pace but it still keeps you engrossed and connected through its authentic, charming visuals of the stunning ruins, intense direction and splendid performances by Shabana Azmi, Naseeruddin Shah, Pankaj Kapoor, Anu Kapoor and Geeta Sen. The film showcases a highly profound and emotional portrayal of the relationship between a blind mother and her lonely daughter, wherein Shabana Azmi genuinely delivers one of her career best performances playing Jamini.
Bringing forward the simple yet truthful life lived by the innocent people in the remote areas, KHANDHAR has a sympathetic subject and an admirable direction by Mrinal Sen, which  unarguably makes it one of the most appreciated (but forgotten) classic from the Art Movies Wave of the 70s and 80s. The film not only won several accolades in India but was widely appreciated in few foreign film festivals too. And among the awards won by the classic are Chicago International Film Festival’s Best Film Award in 1985, Filmfare’s Best Screenplay Award in 1985 and National Film Award for Best Director (Mrinal Sen) and Best Actress (Shabana Azmi) in 1984.
However the irony of our Indian Cinema is that when a home video company releases its VCD in the market after several years, then instead of seriously looking into the film’s content or its director’s reputation, it simply assumes the project to be a suspense movie (considering the title KHANDHAR) and therefore designs an inlay, like a typical, low budget horror film as shown in the picture shared at the left. In fact this evidently reveals the way cinema is considered to be just an entertainment product to be sold in the market and not ‘An Art’ in our part of the world unfortunately.
Anyway, ignoring its ridiculous Inlay design, if you can find this rare film in the market or through any other source, then do watch it as a must and cherish the way we used to make great, visionary cinema in the past decades.
Directed By Mrinal Sen
Written by Premendra Mitra and Mrinal Sen.
Starring : Shabana Azmi, Nasseruddin Shah, Pankaj Kapoor & Anu Kapoor.

Tags : Khandhar (1984), Movies To See Before You Die Drama, Worth Watching Classics of Hindi Cinema, Must Watch Movie List by Bobby Sing, Not to Be Missed Films List By Bobby Sing, Mrinal Sen Films, Great Directors of Hindi Cinema.
21 Jan 2014 / Comments ( 4 )

Watched this film yesterday. I do not have the right word to express my inner feelings. I would definitely keep it in my list of top ten movies in the art genre. Thank you.

Bobby Sing

Hi Ranit,
The pleasure is really mine and I am glad that you liked the film so much.
Keep visiting and writing in.

I watched the film on u tube. Its such a classic piece of art by Mrinal sen. I am watching all movies of Mrinal sen presently Hindi & (bengali films with english subtiles). I searched for review what others has to say on this and thanks to you Mr. Bobby Singh for such a wonderful review. You are doing a service to the society. Keep it up.
Bobby Sing
Dear GK, The pleasure is really mine and I honestly get my much needed energy from such loving responses only to keep it going. So thanks a lot to you too for visiting and writing in. Cheers!
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