Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Govind Nihalani Ardhsatya Movie Review


Ardhsatya (1982) directed by Govind Nihalani. Ardhsatya as a film attempts to explore the rotten core of the Indian administrative system. The title itself is symbolic of the blurred view of the generation lost on cause (freedom struggle against "outsiders") or stumbling and learning to keep a straight when faced with the challenge of fighting with the enemy within.

Anant Velankar symbolises the generation that was forced to wake up from its ideal slumber and face all that was changing around them of having to choose between following or stop existing as an individual. In existentialist philosophy it is a choice of nothingness compared to Being.

The existentialist theme is also explored in the concept of impotence. Throughout the film Veli is obsessed with realising his manhood, perhaps one that is different to his father, you wonder if the poem strikes a chord with Veli because it deals with the quest of manhood. The poem in itself deals with manhood not as gender but as person's capacity to live in an incomplete life because his circumstances will lead him to truths that are in contrast with his own.

It is interesting how the male mind perceives impotence differently than a female.It is inferred that Jyotsna perceives the failure of a person to stick to his ideals in face of adversity as impotence where Veli feels his lack of capacity in putting up a fight or an equal physical force to crush what is against his principles as his impotence. However throughout the film both these persons never achieve the empathy to see things through the other's eyes. This is perhaps what the battle of sexes is; a person's belief that their truth is the only truth and hence the tangent point where each of these meet has to be ardhsatya.

As such Veli is far from a Purushottam or Absolute Man the way he is perceived in Indian culture but has flaws of his own, where as Jyotsna is very much the ideal throughout the film. What is surprising is Veli's naivete given his background. Through many scenes we realise that Veli's father is not the ideal policeman he claims to be. Yet it could be assumed that Veli's natural dislike for his father might have created a detachment strong enough for him that he doesn't absorb all that is happening around and maintains an indifference since this is not path he wishes to follow.

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