- 2 hr 20 min
Nishant is a 1975 Indian drama film directed by Shyam Benegal, starring Girish Karnad, Shabana Azmi, and Anant Nag. The movie touches upon the subject of oppression, injustice, and corruption prevalent in rural India. It is set amidst the backdrop of a fictitious village where the wealthier upper-caste families exploit the lower-caste villagers for their labor. The movie has a non-linear narrative structure and revolves around the clashes between the upper-caste Thakur family and the lower-caste villagers. The story unfolds from the perspective of four young students who arrive in the village to teach. As they observe the day-to-day realities of the village, they are appalled by the level of poverty and exploitation that exists. The elder brother of the Thakur family, Virendra Singh played by Amrish Puri, is feared and respected by the villagers. He wields immense power and influence over the local police and judiciary. He is married to Laxmi, played by Smita Patil, who is dissatisfied with her life and yearns for greater freedom. The story takes a dramatic turn when Virendra Singh kidnaps two lower-caste boys and murders them in cold blood. The lower-caste villagers are outraged but are unable to take any action against the Thakurs due to their power and influence. As the story progresses, the four students become more involved in the villagers' lives and become part of the local resistance movement. They make a valiant but futile attempt to bring justice to the victims by seeking the help of the police and judiciary. But they soon realize that the system is deeply flawed and corrupt, and justice is beyond their reach. Girish Karnad and Shabana Azmi play the roles of the Thakur's young educated brother and sister-in-law, respectively. They are sympathetic characters who are torn between their loyalty to their family and their sense of right and wrong. Anant Nag plays the role of a lower-caste villager who is the leader of the resistance movement. His stirring performance is one of the highlights of the movie. The movie is shot in an earthy and realistic style, which gives it a documentary-like quality. The music by Vanraj Bhatia complements the mood of the movie and heightens the sense of drama. Nishant is a searing indictment of the social and political structures that propagate oppression and inequality. The characters in the movie are not black and white, but complex and nuanced, reflecting the complex realities of rural life in India. The movie is a landmark in Indian cinema and a masterpiece of social realism. It won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Hindi and the Filmfare Critics Award for Best Movie. It is a must-watch for anyone interested in Indian cinema and social justice.