Ankur (The Seedling) was a film that began with several rejections by some big production houses. Marked as the debut of several veterans Anant Nag, Shabana Azmi and Shyam Benegal (also the director of the movie), it was released in 1974. The film successfully dealt with the issues of gender equality, caste and indifferences from a simplified yet visionary perspective.
Even after 26 years of its release, the theme of Ankur by Shyam Benegal remains alive. The film is still relevant to our nation and has not faded away!
- The Story
- Ankur was a story about a landlord and his mistress. This simple tale was what Ankur offers you with a lot of depth and learnings.
- Surya, played by Anantnag, was obliged to give up his studies, to look after his father’s properties. After getting married, he comes to a village but not along with his wife.
- In the village, he fell in love with a maid named Laxmi, played by Shabana Azmi. He promises to take care of her after her husband abandoned her.
- Meanwhile, Lakshmi gets pregnant. Surya wanted to abort the child, to which Laxmi refused. Surya abandons her but again comes back into her life. He thinks the child is his. However, the story has more turns and twists, more than our heads could imagine.
- The Characters
- Anantnag’s character, Surya, believes that he is different. He announces his disbelief in the caste system but follows a different route altogether.
- Shabana Azmi, in the role of Lakshmi, is poverty-stricken but not weak at all. When Surya doesn’t allow them to have the child, she chooses the other way to live. Her character is strong. Portraying such a role in her first film is applaudable.
- The Direction
- Benegal has been a crucial filmmaker for parallel cinema. He directed his first film as if he is the one to rule in the film industry.
- The depiction of casteism, scenes of brutality, profanity is well interpreted and well-executed.
- The Cinematography
- Govind Nihalani is the cinematographer of the film. He did one of the finest-jobs of his career.
- The tone, shots and lights were well picturized for a rural setup.
- Did You Know?
- Shyam Benegal’s film was funded by an advertising agency and local farmers after a lot of struggle!
- The film won multiple accolades including, the National Award for a second-best feature film.
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