- 2 hr 47 min
Mandi is a 1983 Indian film directed by Shyam Benegal and starring Shabana Azmi, Smita Patil, and Naseeruddin Shah. The movie is set in the fictional town of Mandi and it explores the lives of different people with different backgrounds who are all connected in some way. The movie begins by introducing us to Rukmini Bai (Shabana Azmi), a madam of a brothel in Mandi. She is a smart and strong-willed woman who is constantly battling against the male-dominated society she lives in. Rukmini's brothel is not just a place for sex workers but also a hub for other women who are seeking refuge and support from their abusive husbands. Another important character in the movie is Zeenat (Smita Patil), a young woman who comes to Mandi in search of work. Zeenat is a widow and a mother of two who is trying to make ends meet. She gets a job at Rukmini's brothel as a cook and soon becomes close friends with Rukmini. Naseeruddin Shah plays the role of a wealthy landowner named Shahzada Nafeesa, who is also involved in politics. Shahzada Nafeesa is a complex character who is torn between his desire for power and his sense of duty towards his people. As the movie progresses, we see how the lives of these characters intertwine and how they are affected by the political and social changes sweeping through the country. The movie touches on issues such as patriarchy, corruption, and the exploitation of women. One of the biggest strengths of the movie is its portrayal of strong female characters. Rukmini, Zeenat, and other women in the movie are shown as resilient and resourceful in the face of adversity. They are not just victims of their circumstances but are actively working towards changing their lives. The movie also shows the harsh reality of life for sex workers in India. It highlights the discrimination they face from society and the legal system. However, the movie does not depict them as helpless victims but as strong women who are fighting for their rights. The performances in the movie are outstanding. Shabana Azmi, Smita Patil, and Naseeruddin Shah deliver powerful performances that are both nuanced and authentic. The chemistry between the actors is also excellent, making the relationships between the characters feel genuine and natural. The cinematography of the movie is also worth mentioning. The movie is shot in a realistic and gritty style that perfectly captures the feel of a small town in India. The use of natural light and muted tones give the movie a raw and unvarnished look that adds to its authenticity. Overall, Mandi is a must-watch movie for anyone interested in Indian cinema. It tells a compelling story while also touching on important social issues. The movie is a testament to the talent of the actors and the director, who were able to create a movie that is both entertaining and thought-provoking.