Laxmi lives a poor lifestyle in a small village in India along with her husband, Kishtaya, who is a deaf-mute. Both husband and wife work for the wealthy landlord. The landlord's son, Surya...
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Laxmi lives a poor lifestyle in a small village in India along with her husband, Kishtaya, who is a deaf-mute. Both husband and wife work for the wealthy landlord. The landlord's son, Surya, has to cancel his studies and return home to look after the estate, as well as formalize his marriage to Saroj, the girl he was compelled to get married to when he was very young. Shortly thereafter Kishtaya is apprehended stealing toddy from the fields, is severely beaten, left senseless, and when he recovers he absconds, leaving Laxmi alone to fend for herself. Surya finds her attractive and starts an intimate relationship with her, much to the chagrin of the rest of the family. Things only get worse when Saroj moves in to live with Surya - compelling him to make a final decision about a visibly pregnant Laxmi.Written by
The film, based on a short story by the director himself, was shot in a village somewhere near Hyderabad in Andhra Pradesh. The protagonist speaks in a 'Dakhini dialect' close to Hindi, which in the words of Shyam Benegal, was chosen to have a wider appeal across the country.
The tale of exploitation of the poorer section of society by the rich landlords is seen through the predicament of Lakshmi (Shabana Azmi), a maid who falls into a trap of an illegitimate relationship with the young landlord (Anant Nag) when her husband (Sadhu Meher) forsakes her for a while and goes off elsewhere to escape the humiliation he was meted out by Anant Nag for an innocuous act of petty stealing. The scene where Meher is shaved off his hair and paraded on a donkey across the village is a depiction of rural India much as it exists in reality. Shabana Azmi excels in the dramatic sequences towards the climax. The cinematography by Gobind Nihalani is excellent, and sequences such as rain pouring on a tin roof in village houses exude charm of the rural backdrop.
Rating: 3.8 out of 5
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