Arth – Mahesh Bhatt: Retro Marvel!


There are filmmaker’s who make films. And then, we have filmmakers who churn epics. They resonate and come back to us with a trace of fervour. ‘Arth’ is such a product of pandemonium class.

Mahesh Bhatt ranks amongst the country’s finest minds and this probably was his most honest trade. Human relationships have always intrigued me, and I continue to mend my ways to attempt not to meander desires. ‘Arth’ flashes human paranoid in every frame of life. Inder, Pooja, Kavita, Raj – they are all etched out of our pedestrian lives. Insane, talented, desirable, greedy, dreams, obsession. The characters are immersed in such juggernaut that they fail to miss you and you are glued with your gums stuck to the walls. The floundering means of Inder, Pooja’s desperation to possess a family that refrains to let hold and Kavita’s psychotic bliss take you to a fold of manned pandora that refuses to bleach naked carousels.

Few scenes stand out. ‘main keh raha hoon, keh raha hoon, keh raha hoon’ fused humane madness, Pooja’s proverbial outburst in the party where she spots Inder & Kavita together and Kavita’s oscillating moods define masquerading battles within. Raj’s acceptance of Pooja’s refusal establishes the fact that people with such beautiful feelings do live and breathe amongst us.

Pravin Bhatt is excellent with his camera, editing flays yet restrained and the script palanquins the stamp of vulnerable wannabes. ‘Tum itna jo muskura rahe ho’ is my forte and the late Jagjit Singh’s soulful rendition renames melancholy. Background score rests beneath as the writer creates his own playground of fatal tombs.

The performances: What can I say? It features some of the finest this country has ever seen. Khulbhushan Kharbanda plays Inder like a man possessed. If this generation has to know what KK could do as an actor, then ‘Arth’ is your destination. Shabana Azmi as Pooja is astounding. Raj Kiran as Raj sinks and does so with aplomb. Finally, my toast. Smita Patil delivers a stunner. At an age when women centric roles were orthodox and venturing out of the commercial territory was almost impossible, Smita lived Kavita in every frame. The swinging mantra of her loneliness, her insecurity to retain a man in her arms and the insatiable wants of a marauding woman – Smita had it all. Hats off!

An autobiographical monument, ‘Arth’ became a path breaking phantom. 31 years since, and Mahesh Bhatt’s mangled human yore oozes brilliance.

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