- 2 hr 17 min
Libaas is a 1988 Indian drama film directed by Gulzar, based on a short story by renowned Urdu writer, Late Mr. Sardar Akhtar. The film is a poignant tale about the complexities of relationships, human emotions, and the complexities of marriage. The film stars Shabana Azmi, Utpal Dutt, and Naseeruddin Shah in lead roles and features a brilliant performance by Raj Kiran in a supporting role.
The story revolves around Sudhir (Naseeruddin Shah), a successful director of commercial films who is in a problematic marriage with Seema (Shabana Azmi), who is also a talented actress. Sudhir is unhappy in his marriage as his wife does not share his ambition and has given up her acting career to raise their son. Moreover, Sudhir is attracted to a young and attractive newcomer in the film industry named Sushma (Smita Patil). Sudhir's life becomes complicated when his close friend and writer Manohar (Utpal Dutt) introduces him to the world of extra-marital affairs. Despite his initial hesitation, Sudhir starts having an affair with Sushma, who is oblivious to his marital status.
The film portrays the complexities of human emotions excellently. It depicts the inner conflict of Sudhir, who is unable to decide between his wife and his new love interest. The film also highlights the challenges and obstacles faced by women in a patriarchal society. Seema's character symbolizes the plight of women forced to abandon their ambition and dreams to fulfill their dutiful roles as a wife and mother. The film beautifully captures the sentiments of Sudhir and Seema's marriage, which has lost its charm due to long-standing issues of infidelity, mistrust, and apathy.
Libaas is not just a story of a troubled marriage; it is a reflection of contemporary society's moral values and beliefs. The film highlights the double standard prevalent in Indian society when it comes to extramarital affairs. The film shows how men get away with their infidelity and how women face the consequences of the same. Furthermore, it also showcases the loneliness and despair that comes with extramarital affairs. In essence, the film raises some pertinent questions on the institution of marriage and the societal norms surrounding it.
The performances of the lead actors are commendable. Shabana Azmi, one of the most prolific actresses of Indian Cinema, delivers a sterling performance as Seema, the wife who is constantly struggling to keep her marriage intact. Utpal Dutt, a versatile actor known for his iconic roles in Bengali cinema, is splendid in his portrayal of Manohar, the friend who introduces Sudhir to the world of extramarital affairs. Naseeruddin Shah, with his understated acting, adds depth and nuance to his role, making Sudhir's character relatable and endearing.
The music of the movie is also noteworthy, with compositions by the maestro, R.D. Burman. The songs perfectly complement the film's mood and add to the overall cinematic experience. The song, "Hazaar Rahein Mud Ke Dekhi," sung by the legendary Asha Bhosle, stands out as a masterpiece that captures both the essence and emotions of the movie.
In conclusion, Libaas is a cinematic masterpiece that explores the complexities of human relationships in a thought-provoking manner. It is an honest and moving portrayal of marriage, love, and the human psyche. Gulzar, a master storyteller known for his lyrical narration, has given us a film that is timeless and relevant even today. Though the film was made in 1988, its message remains topical, and the audience can relate to the situations and characters depicted in the movie. Libaas is a film that can be watched for its sheer cinematic excellence and the messages it conveys on societal beliefs and values. It is a must-watch for anyone who loves good cinema that challenges the status-quo of societal norms.