remains of a half-torn ticket

Monday, April 20, 2009

Ek Ruka Hua Faisla(1986)

Director: Basu Chatterjee

Genre: Drama

Language: Hindi

Starring: Pankaj Kapur, Annu Kapoor,

K .K Raina

If there was an era when the reel and real life were running parallel in India, it had to be the eighties. The times of Amol Palekar, Farooq Sheikh, Dipti Naval and Smita Patil. This was also the era of experimental cinema or I must say minimal cinema. One beautiful example of such cinema is Ek Ruka Hua Faisa. Directed by Basu Chatterjee, this movie is a scene to scene adaptation of a 1957 Hollywood classic 12 angry men and being an adaptation has its own pros and cons. But, one would agree that the Indian version deserves as many accolades as the English version.

The plot is simple, infact it gets clear during the narration in first few minutes

"मुलजिम पर कत्ल का इल्जाम है, अपने बाप के कत्ल का इल्जाम, कत्ल का जुर्म फौजदारी के मुकद्दमे में सबसे संगीन जुर्म माना जाता है, सारे बयां और गवाहियाँ आप सुन चुके हैं एक शख्स मर चुक्का है और दूसरे की ज़िन्दगी का फ़ैसला आप के हाथो में, अब आप पूरे मुकद्दमे की बारीकियों पर एक साथ बैठ कर गौर करेंगे और सछै पे पहुचने की कोशिश करेंगे, इस दौरान अगर कोई माकूल शक आप लोगो को नज़र आता है और दलीलों की कसौटी पर खड़ा उतरता है तो आप बेक़सूर का फ़ैसला दे सकते हैं और अगर मुलजिम को कसूरवार ठहराते हैं तो ऐसी सूरत में रहम की कोई सिफारिश मंज़ूर नही की जायेगी और मुलजिम फांसी के तख्ते पे जायेगा आप लोगो का जो भी फ़ैसला हो एक मत से होना ज़रूरी है मुझे उम्मीद है की आप सब पूरी संजीदगी और इमानदारी से अपनी ज़िम्मेदारी निभाएंगे धन्यवाद."

So that’s all about the plot, a jury of 12 guys from varied domains, talking about a boy who is supposed to be killer of his father. And the movie starts with 11 on one side and 1 on the other, and hence, they talk.

The most interesting part of this movie is the dialogues and certainly the performances (cinematography was certainly not the talked about aspect for this movie shot in one room), the 12 characters were absolutely in place. A few faces emerges out of the dozen, let’s talk about them in a little more detail:

Pankaj Kapur: Strong role and he fits it with comfort. I have gradually started praying this person after this movie, The Blue Umbrella and Dharm. Mr Karamchand Kapur will always remain one of the pillars of Indian cinema. A little surprising though that the world knows more of the chocolaty Shahid Kapur and not the phenomenal Pankaj Kapur.

Annu Kapoor: Ancient in his looks and natural in his act, this old man you see in these images is the great sa-re-ga-ma anchor Annu Kapoor. He has a few statements to make in this movie but his presence is felt with his peculiar dialogue delivery style and eagle-like observations.

K K Raina: Certainly the solidest character in this movie, because of the story and also because of the way this character is being played by him. He plays the gentle but unassailable rock in this movie.

S. M. Zaheer: You may not recognize this person by his name but as soon as you see him in a movie, you will recognize that person in a second. Another omnipresent character artist who fits in role of a logical person vis-à-vis K K Raina.

M K Raina: And here is general young guy who wants to see movies, funny character that sometimes enlivens the environment and irritates at times.

Remaining characters have their moments in the movie and it’s a must watch movie. In spite of being a copy, it is loved, admired and appreciated for its ingenuity and consistent performances. A review of such a movie makes one repeat the same words ‘must-watch’ again and again; it’s a movie you would want to see when you are fresh, in a mood to see some great acting and a no-nonsense act. If you are not in such a mood, be happy, bollywood continues to produce a lot of movies for you and they’ll be running all over the place. Unfortunately, not many movies like ek ruka hua faisla are made in these times.