Tuesday 28 December 2010

Insaf Ka Tarazu (1980)

Writing my first review after such a long time feels weird which makes me proclaim 'away from me writer's block and be gone, be gone I say'. Insaf ka Tarazu is a movie i had planned to review on Zeenat Aman's birthday last month on November 19th, but as time did not allow, i thought it'd be the first movie i review now that I'm back in the swing of things.

Directed by the master of socially relevant bollywood films 'B.R. Chopra', Insaf ka Tarazu (The scales of Justice) is notable for being the first bollywood film that dealt head on with the subject of rape, it's also widely considered by many as one of Zeenat Aman's landmark performances. The film has been observed by many as a remake of the 1976 hollywood film 'Lipstick', which I'm yet to see, hence i shall not be able to comment on how much it rips it off, but this bollywood adaptation is a great watch, and is very much a bold film for its time

Our movie starts at a beauty competition where the audience decides who gets crowned the winner

(bollywooddeewana's note: How very forward thinking isn't it, voting for the winner is all the rage these days on Television shows)

Fashion model extraordinaire Bharti (Zeenat Aman) raises temperatures so much that a fan in the audience scores her a whopping 200 out of a possible 100. Bharti wins the competition and
the fan in question turns out to be wealthy industrialist Ramesh (Raj Babbar). As a reward for his enthusiasm he's called to crown Bharti, which he feels very honoured to do

Ramesh falls for Bharti and despite knowing she has a boyfriend of her own called Ashok (Deepak Parashar), he's hell bent on wooing her. Part of his attempts include hosting a special V.I.P birthday bash for her

Bharti goes along to the party with her boyfriend and sister, but Ramesh notices all his advances are being shunned by a rather childish Bharti in favour of her boyfriend Ashok

While Ramesh is nursing his broken heart/ego, Ashok and Bharti's relationship moves onto the next level when he takes her to his parents, Bharti's in laws approve of her and plans are made for them to get married

Ramesh still bent on wooing Bharti, calls her requesting to bring pictures from the party he threw for her, he's given the go ahead by Bharti. Ramesh goes that extra bit further and gifts her a present which Bharti in a rather childish and rude manner ignores in favour of her boyfriends call. Ramesh is furious and proceeds on raping Bharti

Bharti's sister Neeta (Padmini Kolhapure) walks in on them & thinks the sexual act between her sister and Ramesh is consensual

(bollywooddeewana's note:surely she should have seen the bruises & scars on her sister's face as well as the fact that she's tied up,or did little Neeta probably think her sister was indulging in some S&M fun, i'd fear to think so)

Violated and shattered, Bharti is determined to get justice
(bollywooddeewana's note:I must admit that i do rather like this painting revealing Bharti's inner state of mind)

despite the lawyer's (Simi Garewal) warning of the emotional turmoil and humiliation the court case will very likely bring, Bharti insists on taking the case to court
(bollywooddeewana's note: I actually find the film quite feminist in this regard as she (Bharti) stood up and made her voice heard rather that fear being ridiculed and as a result keep schtum)

True to the lawyer's word Bharti is subjected to all sorts of humiliating questions from her attire she was wearing before the rape to providing proof she was raped and many other mundane questions, she's eventually accused of luring Ramesh to bed & attempting to cover up the whole incident with the intention of remaining angelic in the eyes of her younger sister

Bharti loses the case mostly in part to the dubious lawyer Mr Chandra (Sreeram lagoo) whom Ramesh had bought out plus various pictures which showed them enjoying each other's company was enough to convince the judge Bharti was lying

Devastated and humiliated at losing the case Bharti's world comes crumbling down, What will happen to Bharti, will she ever be able to get justice? What will society make of her now? What will happen to her career as well as her relationship with Ashok? Watch Insaf Ka Tarazu (scales of justice) to find out

On the whole Insaf ka tarazu is a taut and gripping drama/thriller, it had me engrossed right from the get go and the film only begins to falter in my opinion in the quite tedious court scenes, and as usual my complaint with many a bollywood film that includes a court scene rears its ugly head here once more (see previous complaints here and here). Why is it that the court is always a place of jesting and other hijinks, for example raucous laughter is allowed to go on numerous times in the court without the judge shouting 'order'

But my complaints are far and in between as this film is a major winner for me, mostly in terms of its feminist stance in the form of Bharti not being afraid to seek justice at the cost of what might become of her reputation in society , that along side the injustices in the judicial system regarding rape which was echoed in the much later and rather over the top Zakhmi Aurat, makes this film a must watch, i definitely recommend it and i recommend reading the magazine scans at the end of this post too.

Looking back and judging by the rape and Judicial system in modern day India in the magazine scans at the end of this post, it seems a lot of the things i was angry about while watching this film happens in real life like Bharti's sister being asked to come and stand trial and then being shouted at by the lawyer. All these points and arguments which the article at the end of this post raised made me like this film all the more and made it even more relevant to our present times. As for the flat/rushed ending many imdb commenters seem to be unhappy with, alas the director had to bridge the gap between making a socially relevant film and making money at the same time, not a bad thing in my opinion.

I'd recommend this film as a must watch for all Zeenat Aman fans, i found her portrayal of Bharti passionate albeit a bit uber melodramatic and without sounding shallow she looked utterly gorgeous

Raj Babbar whatever you think of him doesn't really matter, as i think this is one if not the best role he ever played, he brought a certain creepiness to his Ramesh character so much so that you can't help but hate him, infact I've come across numerous people who hate him because of his role in this, but i say well done Raj for a great performance

Deepak Parashar another actor who gets schtick for being wooden , i actually found quite cute in this and he and Zeenat made a lovely pair

And lest i forget Padmini Kolhapure, she was nothing but great as Bharti's chirpy little sister this young actress who i believe was only a wee teenager at the time showed she was capable of handling melodrama whilst showing some restraint while doing so

Honourable mentions to Simi Garewal, Ifthekar and Sreeram Lagoo as well

Garam Dharam makes a special guest appearance

Lovely music from Ravindra Jain on this, i simply love this soundtrack and i've included links to all the videos with English subtitles, from the restrained title track 'insaf ka tarazu' to the playful 'yeh ho gayi' , my two favourites though are 'Hazaar khwaab haqeeqat' a wonderful love song by Mahendra Kapoor and Asha Bhosle

and 'log aurat ko' is definitely amongst my top three Asha Bhosle songs of all time

Paisa Vasool rating: 7/10

Magazine scans on rape the state of Rape and Justice in India

Click on image to enlage

Click to enlarge

Article courtesy Femina Magazine

Friday 24 December 2010

Merry Christmas dear readers and followers and Happy Birthday to Anil Kapoor

Apologies about my long abscene from the blogosphere, i can only think the makers of Tees Maar Khan jinxed me so that this blog could be a little promo for their film for one whole month, i'm back with a movie review on Monday but till then Merry Christmas to all my lovely readers and followers and a very happy birthday to Mr Anil Kapoor, who is one of my favourite actors, he celebrates his 51st birthday today, here's wishing you many more happy years ahead Mr Kapoor
Anil Kapoor in Mashaal (1984)

below is one of my favourite Anil Kapoor songs
Pyar Kiya nahin Jaata from Woh Saat Din (1983)

Below are links of some of his movies that I've reviewed on here in Chronological order