Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Suraj Ka Satvan Ghoda

There is something inherently poignant about leaving a movie half-watched (I was watching it on television when some unexpected guests showed up) ten years ago to see it again now. When the movie in question happens to be Suraj Ka Satvan Ghoda and you've had in those ten years, some life changing experiences that question the very nature of love, poignance does not even begin to describe the experience. In the interests of full disclosure, I am an unabashed Shyam Benegal fan and love the poetry of Dharmvir Bharti. With the two coming together in Satvan Ghoda, it would take little else for me to be bowled over.

Without giving the plot away, the story is explores the nature of love and morality through real life stories told by Manek Mulla, the protagonist to a group of his friends. There are tenuous links that join the lives of all the characters who feature in the stories, some obvious others not quite. Each sub-plot can stand on its own strength but bringing them together results is something that is far greater than the sum of the parts.

Each story centers around the complicated trade-offs people make in love and life, as they try to strike that delicate balance between the mundane business of living day to day and living for something greater than themselves. Often they stumble and fall, taking their moral high-ground down with them as they do. When they get back up, they will rearrange the facts to fit the outcome and invent a version of history that shows them in more favorable light than they deserve to be shown in. Rashomon comes to mind in how the story depicts subjectivity of perception on each individual's recollection of the events.


This is a movie that will leave you with many unanswered questions and trigger introspection on who and how you have loved, why you have left or stayed with them. For anyone who is interested in meaningful cinema from India, this movie should be a must watch.

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