Sonntag, 26. August 2007

Adharm (1992) - Review in English

About the story: God-fearing Mr Verma (Vikram Gokhale) lives with his family in a palatial residence which he calls "Dharam Nivas" (House of Justice). While his elder son Bharat (Rakesh Pandey) takes after his father, the younger son Jaganath (Kiran Kumar) is impious and unrestrained, and thus is a thorn in his father’s flesh. When Verma one day disinherits him and throws him out of the house, Jagan walks out, swearing revenge to Bharat and the family’s next generation. Many years later, after his father’s death, Jagan puts his revenge plans into action, supported by his sons Raghunath (Paresh Rawal) and Rocky (Gulshan Grover) who work in drug business. Raghu falsely frames Bharat’s eldest son, honest A.C.P. Avinash (Shatrughan Sinha), for murder, and while Avinash is sentenced to 14 years imprisonment, Raghu gets "Dharam Nivas" in his possession. To protect his then little brother Vicky, Avinash begs his wife Mamta (Shabana Azmi) to tell Vicky that he is dead, and to live as a widow while she raises him. Vicky (Sanjay Dutt) loves his sister-in-law more than anything else and has only one ambition in life: to get "Dharam Nivas" back for her and for himself. So he starts working for Raghu, of all people, not knowing that he thus becomes a token in Jagan’s merciless revenge plans...

Many years Avinash is behind bars in Adharm, and it seems that it took as many long years to shoot the movie. How the hell would the producers coordinate their schedules in the end-80es and the early 90es? At that time, Sanju worked with at least a dozen films at the same time, and you just have to wonder how he managed to keep track of the different characters. Especially when it obviously took an extreme long time (with many interruptions) to complete the shooting, like in the case of Adharm. When the film was finally released in 1992, Sanju’s short hair à la Paul McCartney had been history since about four years, and there had already been releases of films where this hair-style no longer was to be seen, e.g. Do Matwale, Jeena Marna Tere Sang and Saajan. So it’s quite surprising to suddenly see Sanju with short hair again, and while you still wonder whether the film just had a long post-production phase, Sanju also appears with a short mullet (1989/90) and finally even with the long mullet mane (1991/92). Considering this kind of sporadic long-term shooting, producer and director are to be complimented for still maintaining a noteable stringency in Adharm. Without Sanju’s hair-style changes you probably wouldn’t even notice that it took many years to shoot this film.

Of course, this is also thanks to the good cast, at the head Sanjay, presenting himself once again from his emotionally strongest. Very good are also intense and stunningly beautiful Shabana Azmi, Tej Sapru as Jagan’s illegal son Pratab, and Kiran Kumar who should sue his makeup men for the adjusted scar in his face, for this could also have been done without making it visible on the very first sight that it is just adjusted. Too bad that even the Indian faible for trashy comic scenes is extensively served, not only by an unnerving egg man and by Shakti Kapoor (who, however, like in Khoon Ka Karz again at least partially manages a balance between idiot and serious minor character), but this time even – you don’t believe it – by the second leading lady: What Anita Raaj as Sara undertakes to get unwilling Vicky for herself, several times surpasses the borders to silliness, and sad enough, Sanju even has to take part in these stupid scenes and to expose himself to a ridiculousness which neither he himself deserves nor his role which is, from the character, shaped as a strong one. I cannot save the filmmakers from this blame, otherwise I congratulate them to this film about a generation conflict, inspired by the Mahabharata, which despite its trash elements is worth a watch. Though it certainly will never belong to my favourites.

Produced by Nitin Manmohan; Directed by Aziz Sajawal
150 Min.; DVD: Eros, English Subtitles (not for the songs)
© Diwali

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