Dienstag, 21. August 2007

Sadak (1991) - Review in English

About the story: Ravi (Sanjay Dutt) has to cope with traumatic experiences in his past, which haunt him and nearly drive him mad: His sister Roopa (Soni Razdan) has once been forced to work in a brothel, and when her grandfather learned of her plight, he refused to accept her back into the family and to save her from this hell. Ravi then broke away from his grandfather, but before he could save his sister, she jumped out of a window to death, in front of his eyes. With these images on his mind, he now makes a living as taxi driver and hopes to one day find the mysterious woman, whose appearance on that day had made his sister panic. He sympathises with his friend Gotya (Deepak Tijori), who wants to marry the prostitute Chanda (Neelima Azim), and he helps Gotya as much as possible. One night, Ravi meets Pooja (Pooja Bhatt) and falls in love with her. A short time later, Pooja is sold into a brothel by her uncle. Ravi gives everything to free Pooja, but the brothels’s 'madam' is eunuch Maharani (Sadashiv Amrapurkar), a ruthless character, who would sell his own grandmother...

Sadak is considered a prime example of Sanjay’s action movies of the early 90es. He is beaten up excessivly during this film, culminating in a crucifixion - even if 'only' with ropes – where he is made to hang like Jesus on a cross. Rarely has Sanju glanced at his enemies from such a badly beaten, blood-covered face, to throw angry and hateful looks at them. But these bloody fighting scenes are only one aspect of Sanjay’s typical roles of this time. I have never seen Sanju play a totally insensitive thug until today, although his physique – tall, fit and muscular – could predestine him for such roles. But there is always the emotional and vulnerable side of him, too. This, combined with his excellence in close combat, results in an archetype which we find in Sadak and others of Sanju’s films from the early 90es: An amiable young man gets into deep trouble, innocently he is pulled deeper and deeper into evil, until at the end he fights back and takes revenge for the harm that has been done to him and his loved ones. (Or the other way round: A young criminal is a good human being at heart and shows this more and more in the course of the movie.) 

Sanjay plays the character of Ravi with all its facets in his habitual intensity, performs Ravi’s traumatic memories of his sister with incredibly strong expressions; he looks touching in his tender interactions with Pooja (who even allows him a - for Indian cinema of those times - unusually long kiss), and he fights dauntlessly till the end for his and Pooja’s happiness. Sadak is his solo from beginning to end; once more he single-handedly makes a film commendable.

The eunuch Maharani is an unusual villain character, and Sadashiv Amrapurkar really manages to make it appear not ludicrous - which could easily have happened – but subtly evil and dangerous. Pooja Bhatt is okay as Pooja, Avtar Gill dignified and congenial as Ravi’s fatherly friend Salimbhai.

Produced by Mukesh Bhatt; Directed by Mahesh Bhatt

131 minutes; DVD: Spark, English Subtitles (including songs)
There's also a WEG release but it has a very bad image quality, no subtitles for the songs and is 6 minutes shorter than Spark. Not recommendable.
© Diwali; Translated by Anamika

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