Friday, 29 April 2011
Ardh Satya (Half Truth) 
Govind Nihalani is renowned for infusing realism in cinema (which some like calling "parallel cinema") – a rare trait among makers of Hindi movies, and Ardh Satya ranks among his most well-known films. Based in the mega-city of Bombay, the movie, which derived its name from a terrific poem that is recited in one of the most memorable scenes, is gritty, hard-hitting and deeply existentialist in nature. The film’s protagonist, Anant Velankar (exceptionally played by Om Puri), wanted to pursue literature. However his father (played by another doyen of Hindi cinema, Amrish Puri), was a constable, and literally forced him, through his towering and abrasive personality, to become a cop. A no-nonsense person by nature, the Anant refuses to take shit from anybody, and hence it’s only a matter of time before he goes into head-on, self-destructive collision with a powerful local mafia (another tremendous performance, this time by debutante Sadashiv Amrapurkar). Meanwhile he also starts developing a touching relationship with Jyotsna (delicately played by Smitha Patil), a soft-spoken lecturer in Literature. The film is not without its flaws, but it has the kind of vitality and energy rarely on display in Hindi cinema. It benefited heavily from great performances by everyone in the cast, including a fine cameo by Naseeruddin Shah. Interestingly, one of the scenes in the film, which shows Anant climbing up a staircase, was heavily reminiscent of a similar scene in Ray’s Seemabaddha.
Director: Govind Nihalani
Genre: Drama/Urban Drama/Police Drama