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Aakrosh (1980)

A public prosecutor discovers the harsh realities about life of the scheduled tribes in India during 1980s while defending a case of a tribesman charged of murdering his wife.

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Cast

Credited cast:
...
Advocate Bhaskar Kulkarni
...
Nagi
...
Public Prosecutor Dushane
...
Bhiku Lahanya
Mahesh Elkunchwar ...
Social worker
Bhagyasri Kotnis ...
Bhiku's sister
Arvind Deshpande ...
Dr. Vasant M. Patil
...
Bhonsle (as Dr. Mohan Agashe)
Vihang Nayak
Achyut Potdar ...
Forest Officer More
Madhukar Nayak
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Arvind
Jaishree
...
Lavhni dancer
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Storyline

After working with his mentor and Public Prosecutor Dushane for many years, Advocate Bhaskar Kulkarni is assigned a legal aid case of Bhiku Lahanya, who is accused of brutally killing his wife, Nag, for disobeying him and refusing to have sex with other men. Bhiku remains silent when asked to plead guilty or otherwise. Bhaskar's efforts to get him to subsequently confide in him, prove in vain. Even when Bhaskar goes to talk to Bhiku's dad and sister, he is shunned. When he persists his window panes are broken, then one night he is attacked and knifed. He gets Police protection through the courts and persists with his questions - only to run into nothing but a wall of silence. Then he is contacted by a Social Worker who tells him what really happened. Before Bhaskar could do anything, the Social Worker goes missing, & Bhiku's dad passes away. When Bhiku is permitted to attend his funeral - this is where Bhiku will break his silence - a silence that will see him face another charge of ... Written by rAjOo (gunwanti@hotmail.com)

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Aakrosh....cry of the wounded.


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1980 (India)  »

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Cry of the Wounded  »

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brilliantly directed and acted
12 January 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This is one of the best movies ever made in India. It is unfortunate that the world associates films in India exclusively with bollywood (atleast post-Ray), and so, films like Aakrosh do not get their due. The film pits the idealism of a young lawyer, Bhaskar (Naseer), who is the public defendent for a tribal man, Lahanya (Om Puri), against the inhumanity of the very milieu he has grown up in and is a part of, and which exploits tribals off their labor, life, and dignity with abandon. Especially poignant is Bhaskar's relationship with his mentor (Amrish Puri) who is the public prosecutor in this case. The two share an extremely cordial relationship in personal life but are gulfs apart when it comes to their work and professional ideals.

But probably most important point of the movie is what social theorist Gayatri Spivak asked some years later (in the context of women though)-- 'can the subaltern speak?'. Aakrosh is a forceful reminder that in our capitalist and bureaucratic postcolonial set-up, they indeed cannot.

Nearly all performances in the film are brilliant. Naseer, as the idealist lawyer is completely immersed in his character, to the degree that one forgets that it is Naseer you see on the screen, so good is he as Bhaskar. Something, however, that cannot be said about any of the mainstream 'heroes' in Bollywood. The film, I think, is worth watching for Naseer's method acting alone. Om Puri is remarkable as a tribal man framed in the murder of his wife (Smita Patil in a brief appearance), who, as we discover in some painful shots, loves her a lot. The agony on his face is haunting. And Amreesh Puri is extremely effective as the public prosecutor. The best scenes for me, personally, were Naseer's incessant, and ineffective, pleas to Om Puri to speak up and his cross examination of the witnesses and monologues in court. If anyone needs a great exposition of method acting, then the song 'sans mein dard' is the place to start. Following Naseer's movements in it are extremely educative.


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