Watch Arohan

  • NR
  • 1982
  • 2 hr 24 min
  • 7.7  (85)

Arohan is a poignant and evocative drama that delves deep into the socio-economic disparities and struggles facing the rural poor in India. Directed by Shyam Benegal, the 1983 film is set against the backdrop of the feudal system that continues to pervade the Indian countryside. The movie stars Victor Banerjee, Noni Ganguly, and Pankaj Kapur, who deliver compelling performances that bring to life the powerful narrative of human resilience and the quest for justice.

Victor Banerjee plays the protagonist Hari Mondal, a poor farmer who lives in a small village in West Bengal. His character is emblematic of the oppressed and impoverished peasants who toil day and night, yet remain at the mercy of the wealthy landlords who dominate the land and its produce. Hari, a tenacious and hardworking individual, dreams of a better future for his family. He aspires to break free from the shackles of servitude and gather enough resources to own a piece of land.

Noni Ganguly plays the role of Banerjee's wife, and her character is a testament to the silent strength that women of the rural underclass possess. She supports her husband through thick and thin, enduring the hardships that life throws at them with quiet resolve and patience. Her character represents the unnoticed backbone of rural families who often bear the emotional and physical burdens without recognition or reward.

Pankaj Kapur's role in the film is that of an educated outsider, who is initially seen as a beacon of hope by the villagers. His character confronts the feudalistic norms and tries to instigate change. As an agent of modernity and reform, he embodies the potential for change and the clash between traditional practices and progressive thought.

The narrative of Arohan artfully juxtaposes the tranquility of the bucolic landscape with the inner turmoil and chaos that the feudal system wreaks on its inhabitants. The story intricately weaves themes of economic exploitation, social injustice, and the fight for dignity amidst oppressive circumstances. The farmers in the film are caught in a relentless cycle of debt and servility, and the tale masterfully illustrates their attempts to negotiate with and, when possible, challenge the power structures that bind them.

Director Shyam Benegal's storytelling is uncompromising and grounded in reality. The film's title, Arohan, meaning 'ascend' or 'rise,' symbolizes the upward struggle of its characters against ingrained societal hierarchies. Benegal captures the essence of rural India during a time when the caste system and feudal remnants were still dominant forces dictating the fate of millions. The film does not shy away from showing the raw and sometimes brutal realities that plague the impoverished rural communities.

Arohan also showcases the intricacies of the human spirit—how hope can persist in the face of overwhelming adversity and how the simplest of joys can be found amidst suffering. The characters are fleshed out with depth and nuance, making their experiences and emotions palpable to the audience.

Cinematographically, the film is a visual treat, with vivid portrayals of the Indian countryside. The lush fields, the mud huts, and the flowing rivers are captured in a manner that brings an element of grounded beauty to the film. Moreover, the traditional score and authentic sounds of the village life add a layer of authenticity to the narrative and draw the viewer into the world of the characters.

The themes explored in Arohan remain relevant even in contemporary times. It presents an unvarnished look at the class struggles that have been a part of India's agrarian society for centuries and traces the fissures in the system that leave little room for social mobility. This is a story not just of a farmer, but of an entire community that seeks to redefine its destiny.

For those interested in social dramas, Arohan offers a compelling look into the lives of people often overlooked by mainstream cinema. The performances, direction, and storytelling come together in a cohesive representation of rural dynamics and social struggle. While the film paints a picture of the resilience and courage required for the downtrodden to rise, it also poses questions about the nature of change and the high price at which it often comes.

In essence, Arohan serves as both a gripping account of individual and collective defiance and a poignant reminder of the ongoing battle against systemic oppression. Through its thought-provoking narrative, it successfully ignites a conversation about the need for continued social reform and empathetic governance. This cinematic gem encapsulates the dichotomy of monumental struggle against breathtaking landscapes and remains an essential watch for anyone looking to understand the complex fabric of rural Indian life and its socio-political undercurrents.

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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    2 hr 24 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.7  (85)