Director: Govind Nihalani; Writer: Vijay Tendulkar, Satyadev Dubey; Producer: Devi Dutt, Narayan Kenny; Cinematographer: Govind Nihalani; Editor: Keshav Naidu; Cast: Naseeruddin Shah, Amrish Puri, Om Puri, Arvind Deshpande, Smita Patil, Mohan Agashe, Achyut Potdar, Nana Palsikar, Bhagyashree Kotnis, Mahesh Elkunchwar, Vihang Nayak
Duration: 02:19:36; Aspect Ratio: 1.346:1; Hue: 30.152; Saturation: 0.070; Lightness: 0.194; Volume: 0.092; Cuts per Minute: 16.453; Words per Minute: 39.439
Summary: Cinematographer Nihalani’s directorial debut with a classic Tendulkar script based on an actual incident in Bhiwandi, a small town outside Bombay. The central character is a young lawyer, Bhaskar Kulkarni (Shah) appointed to defend a tribal, Lahanya Bhiku (Om Puri, who emerged as a star in this film), who is accused of murdering his wife Nagi (Patil) but refuses to speak a word. Kulkarni investigates and finds that the man’s wife had been raped and killed by a group of politicians and businessmen during their revels. He also finds that the police and his own boss (A. Puri) are implicated in the cover-up and the framing of Lahanya. When Lahanya is allowed to attend the funeral of his father, he takes the opportunity to kill his young sister to protect her from the fate that befell his wife. In the end, Lahanya gives vent to his suffering and to his helpless anger with a cry of anguish. The part of a left activist who assists Kulkarni’s investigations is played by the playwright Elkunchwar whose play Party Nihalani adapted to the screen (1984). Nihalani’s film extended Tendulkar’s interest in an expressionist fictional reconstruction of real-life political incidents (cf. Benegal’s Nishant, 1975) and greatly influenced the way cinema in
the 80s approached political issues, using tight close-ups, fast-paced editing and dramatic lighting. Nihalani’s 3rd film Ardh Satya (1983) went on to focus on police brutality.