Thursday, May 28, 2009


The film is set in the holy city of Varanasi and centers around Pundit Chaturvedi (Pankaj Kapur), a Hindu priest who stringently follows the Manusmrti. The folk in his neighborhood practically worship the ground he walks on and his word is final in most matters. But things start to shift for the pundit when his wife and daughter adopt an abandoned baby whom he comes to love. Soon he finds himself questioning the very meaning of Dharm, of which he thought he was a master of.

The film has real life couple, Pankaj Kapur and Supriya Pathak, playing the lead roles with a certain effulgence that is rare in Indian cinema. Kapur's acting is understated but his glances shimmer with fire. Eyes that twinkled with mischief whistle playing Karamchand in the 80s, now glow with certain stoicism.

The priest's blind following of the word of Manu is juxtaposed with the simmering communal violence in the city. The film focuses on this difference to show a present day India struggling to abolish the demons of its past that continue to linger strongly. Demons that might never disappear and which continues to posses the citizens causing irreparable harm.

Rating: * * *

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