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This movie is a rare gem in Hindi Cinema by Saeed Akhtar Mirza. Although it doesn't seem to have a coherent plot, it still keeps you hooked on till the end. It has a very distinct visual style keeping your senses engaged all the time.
The opening sequence is one the most memorable from what I have seen. The craftsmen in a village are shown engaged in creating intricately designed carpets. The scene beautifully shifts from the village to a posh handicraft shop in a prominent Bombay locality where these carpets are kept for sale. We hear the tourists going gaga over the wares of the shop - and a sale is made. The journey from the producer to the consumer is complete.
Arvind Desai is the young and suave owner of this business that he has taken over from his father. He clearly is rich, seemingly well educated and is dating his secretary-Alice from work. His staff at the store, Mahesh who is his cousin and Gopal, lack respect for Arvind specially since he is rarely seen at work.
Arvind doesn't seem to like his work and is seen for most of the time loitering around Mumbai in his car. Mumbai itself is an important character in the movie and gets a lot of screen-time. The sights and sounds of Mumbai in the late 70's is nicely captured in the movie. Although Arvind is uninterested in his fathers business he is not clear with what he exactly wants his in life.
The turbulence in his mind increases as the movie progresses. He is unable to see his cousin Mahesh start his own racket by selling goods at lower prices to customers. The profits dwindle and he is unable to take the pressure from his dominating father. He doesn't take his own decisions and is still controlled by his father as can be seen from the fact that he doesn't fire Mahesh even if he wants to. Arvind also breaks up with Alice over a silly argument, questioning whether he really loved her in the first place. Later he is forced into an arranged marriage which he accepts.
Unable to take control over his life and make proper decisions, he gets disoriented. As well put by his Marxist friend, there is quite a disconnect in terms of his thinking and his actions. Even though Arvind seems to have the right thoughts and ideals he doesn't ever act on them. Examples of this are seen throughout the film.
The film ends in the most enigmatic way staying true to the title. Arvind's ways continue to baffle. But in the end that could be said about most men- even though we seem rational, we continue to make confounding and irrational choices. Arvind never really comes of age in the movie, and maybe will never be able to make the transition. Do watch the movie as it will linger in your mind for days.
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