Story of a poor farmer who suffers under a cunning and cruel landlord, amidst rising Naxalism in the 60s.

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Cast

Credited cast:
Noni Ganguly
...
(as Pankaj Kapoor)
Sreela Majumdar ...
(as Srila Mazumdar)
Khokha Mukherji ...
(as Khoka Mukherjee)
...
Hari Mondal
Rajen Tarafder ...
(as Rajen Tarafdar)
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Storyline

Hari Mondal(Om Puri) is a poor village farmer who lives in the remote Bengal village of Giripur in Birbhum district with his wife, two sons, brother, an old widowed aunt Kalidashi (Gita Sen)and her daughter Panchi. The movie opens in the mid sixties when the Naxalbari uprising is spreading across Bengal and oppressed farmers are being united by youths who believe in communism and a socialist republic. Hari and his brother Bolai (Noni Ganguly) are Borgadars, land tillers who plough and harvest the crop on land owned by Jotdars. Bibhutibhushan Ganguly (Victor Banerjee) is the young jotdar who has just lost his father and now wishes to employ new laws on his Borgadars ensuring his greatest profit while the poor farmer languishes in poverty. His estate agent Karmakar(Rajen Tarafdar)does most of his dirty dealings on his behalf that include keeping the poor villagers scared and in command. Hari's sister is about to get married and Hari asks Bibhutibhushan for a loan. Bibhutibhushan asks ... Written by Subrat Jain

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Drama

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13 November 1983 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Ascending Scale  »

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Om Puri won a 'Best Actor' National award (Indian film industry's highest award) for this film. This was his first National award. See more »

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The Ascending Scale
25 March 2011 | by (Fraggle Rock) – See all my reviews

'Arohan' focuses on the issue of the Zameendars (property holders who won massive areas of farmlands) taking over the land of the poor farmers while making them work on it likes slaves and in exchange offering them a price next to nothing. Though Zameendary was 'abolished' after India gained independence, it was still heavily illegally practiced in the rural area. Benegal addresses this issue through the story of a young farmer Hari Mondal and his family. Even though Mondal struggles for justice to win back his land, it comes at a high price where his family falls apart.

Benegal's portrayal is very raw and the the Bengali essence is captured with authenticity through art direction, interaction of actors, setting and the score. All the actors deliver a natural performances. Om Puri is outstanding and he is commendably supported by Victor Banerjee, Noni Ganguly, Pankaj Kapur, Sreela Majumdar and others. The cinematography also deserves special mention as it has a very documentary-like hold that reflects the harsh reality of the issues.

Benegal tackles other issues that arise from poverty. Hari Mondal and his family are of good heart but they are very naive...to the point that they permit Pakhi to go to Calcutta with a stranger who promised her employment.

'Arohan' is among Benegal's lesser known and underrated works. To me, Hari Mondal is among the most memorable characters. He's a good hard- working man trying to provide for his family but he's too naive and gullible for his own good.


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