Antardwand: Is a disturbing watch
Rating: 3.5 out of 5*
Starring: Raj Singh Chaudhary, introducing Swati Sen, Himanshi, Vinay Pathak and Akhilendra Mishra.
Director: Sushil Rajpal
Cinematographer cum filmmaker Sushil Rajpal’s Antardwand, a National Award winner for film on social issues is based on the groom kidnapping that takes place in back waters of the state of Bihar and the inner turmoil it leads to all characters connected to the same. What makes it more impactful is the fact that the film is based on a true story.
Delhi University student and IAS (Indian Administration Services) aspirant Raghubir (Raj Singh Chaudhary) impregnates his girl friend but then decides to marry her. To convey this to his orthodox parents he goes back home for a day to his villange Kaanti in Bihar. On his arrival he sees his father Madhukar Shahi (Vinay Pathak) snootily turning down a proposal brought by one Mahendra Babu (Akhilendra Mishra) for his daughter Janaki (Swati Sen). Despite having offered a fat dowry sum, Madhukar declines the offer and shoos off the over eager man. Madhukar on hearing his son’s choice of marriage scolds him and tells him to forget his girl friend and get ready to marry the girl of his choice, the only daughter of a wealthy businessman. A defiant Raghu leaves home early morning next day to go back to Delhi but is abducted on his way to the railway station. A rebuffed Mahendra Babu is behind this abduction. Held captive for some days, Raghuveer understands he has been is thereafter married off to Janaki, much against his and the girl’s wishes. What consequences it leads to all the concerned lives forms the rest part of the film.
Sushil Rajpal has narrated the film in a thriller format and this is what keeps the audience engrossed. His choice of actors is just perfect. The film has been shot in an authentic milieu where the characters speak the local dialect (and speak it very well). While the pacing might appear a bit slow, the writing is strong enough to provide ample of unpredictable moments. Amitabh Verma’s dialogue’s are very good. While one begins to empathize with the abducted groom’s character first, gradually one’s heart also reaches to the unfortunate girl who has also been a victim to her father’s egoistic decisions.
Raj Singh Chaudhary (Gulaal) is puts up a convincing act as the helpless man stuck in unprecedented circumstances. Debutante Swati Sen is good find. Himanshi fits her small part. Vinay Pathak is first-rate as the authoritarian father. Akhilendra Mishra delivers an outstanding performance getting right into the skin of the character. Jaya Bhattacharya and Sumukhi Pendse playing his daughter in law and wife respectively have been perfectly cast. Himanshi gets limited scope and is alright. Dhairaj leaves his mark as Mishra’s trusted aid.
In the tsunami of seven new Hindi releases this week, Antardwand is your best bet for the visit to your nearest multiplex. Do not miss this film. It tackles a lesser known social evil with good effect.