Author: Amrish puri
Director/Composer/Na: Shyam Benegal/Vanraj Bhatia
Publisher: NFD Corporation
ISBN/UPC (if available): DVD-NFDC-005
Acclaimed Director Shyam Benegal, one of the pioneers of the Indian Art House Cinema movement is renowned the world over for films like Zubeida, Nishant, Bhumika, Mandi, Ankur and The Making of the Mahatma. In Suraj ka Satvan Ghoda, he pulls off a complex narrative structure to create a thought provoking and deeply satisfying film.
In this movie, the narrator (Rajit Kapur) tells 3 stories of the 3 women he had met in his life at different times. This 3 stories are nothing but a single story seen from stands of different characters of the film.
The lowest slowest or the weakest in a group or society determines the speed or progress of the whole. The title of the movie, a metaphor as the movie itself, draws this analogy with the seventh horse pulling the chariot of the sun. As a director of abstract meaningful cinema, Shyam Benegal pulls off another masterpiece that makes you think. Lightly laced with extremely subtle humor, this is a story of love that is markedly different from the many love stories on screen.
An interesting narrative approach adds to the abstractness - as the film is presented as a flashback of a contemporary artist (Raghuvir Yadav). He remembers the many stories of a born-raconteur (Rajit Kapur) during the gossip sessions of four young men with no better way to pass time. The neo-realism in the stories and the starkness of human character brings life to the narrative.
The film is narrated in a series of independent short stories. The brilliance of the director lies in tying these short stories with the same characters creating a complex matrix of humans and relations. The movie comes alive when the same events are depicted in the different stories. This is captured beautifully by showing the same scenes from different angles, emphasizing different personalities on screen, but the same dialogues.
All along the narrative, the movie amazes you with the realism of the stories - contrasted with the character of Rajit Kapur as a master storyteller. The audience to his stories add humor as well as an element of human nature to gossip about others. At the same time, the personalities within the story portray a strong variety of human traits - positive and negative. Artistes like Amrish Puri, Samir Khakkar, K K Raina and others from the world of art cinema bring the stories alive. Rajeshwari Sachdev, Pallavi Joshi, and Neena Gupta play the love interests and vastly different characters. Any attempt to explain the narrative the movie or to divulge information about the characters would make the movie less interesting - as seeing the movie is an evolving discovery.
The music by Vanraj Bhatia plays second fiddle (pun intended). Expectedly the direction is brilliant, and the performance consistently superior. The script and dialogues are off the highest caliber, which is crucial for a movie of this kind.
However, what strikes you at the end is the closeness between reality and the world of tell-tale; and the virtues and vices that exist in these worlds. How all this come together in the end is explained in a brief message in the end - but that still leaves a lot to thought. And indeed the movie is about thinking, and you leave the movie thinking about a host of issues raised throughout - from the virtues and demands of woman in love, the commitment of men in love - to more explicit and implicit elements of the human psyche.
Amrish Puri, Neena Gupta, Rajat Kapoor, Raghuveer Yadav,
Director: Shyam Benegal
Music Director: Vanraj Bhatia