Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Sardari Begum

Watching Sardari Begum with my mother recently was a nostalgic experience. She had been my introduction to Indian parallel cinema in my teens and I have been a fan ever since. This was one movie we had both missed when it was first released and it has taken all of twelve years to get caught up. I've never been disappointed by a Benegal offering and this was no exception. The music which is central to the story was ethereal.

Sardari is a woman with a spirit that does not fit her time and social milieu. To feed her passion for music, she gives up the conventional life of a woman whose life's purpose is fulfilled by way of marriage. Instead, she becomes a courtesan and a professional singer.The movie traces her life in a series of flashbacks along with parallels between her life and that of her niece, Tehzeeb who is far more "respectably" employed as a journalist.

Even with the far greater empowerment and opportunities that Tehzeeb has enjoyed, her unconventional lifestyle causes just as much discomfort. Benegal portrays with great sensitivity the subtle difference between setting oneself free and truly living in freedom. Both Sardari and Tehzeeb, in different circumstances attempt and even succeed at the former but it is the later that is much harder to come by.

1 comment:

nerinossa said...

To feed her passion for music, she gives up the conventional life of a woman whose life's purpose is fulfilled by way of marriage