Friday, 13 December 2019

Anhe Ghore Da Daan (Alms for A Blind Horse) [2011]

Gurvinder Singh’s much fêted film Anhe Ghore Da Daan, adapted from a Punjabi novel of the same name by Gurdial Singh, has a subliminally disconcerting tone and atmosphere about it, in its pervading sense of existential and political angst. Though rarely spelled out loud, one gets a feeling that things are bursting through the seams, and an implosion is just around the corner. The resignation and fatalism of the impoverished, the disenfranchised and the marginalized, in how their survival is tied to the structural discriminations that define their existences, amplified the magnitude of its silent howl. Alternately set in Bathinda and a small village on its outskirts, and largely based within the span of 24 hours, it provided a peek into the dreary, daily existential turmoil of a poverty-stricken Dalit family through three of its members – an aged man (Mal Singh) dumbfounded at the casual act of violence faced by another family through their forced eviction by a powerful landlord in the middle of the night; his daughter (Sarbjeet Kaur) who’s experiencing a barely suppressed wish for freedom from the drudgery; and, her taciturn older brother (Samuel John), a rickshaw puller existing in the fringes, and who’s been injured during an ongoing strike called by the rickshaw pullers’ union. A deep sense of confusion, uncertainty and inner crisis permeates in them, with their lives in a limbo trying to make sense of the dramatic developments surrounding them. The film, with its bleakly beautiful static frames, moody pacing, extremely minimalist approach with the narrative stripped to its bare bones and exquisite long takes, was as much Bressonian, as perhaps homage to his mentor and its creative producer Mani Kaul.

Director: Gurvinder Singh
Genre: Drama/Social Drama/Political Drama
Language: Punjabi
Country: India

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