Reflections: Suraj Ka Satvan Ghoda directed by Shyam Benegal

Suraj Ka Satvan Ghoda
They say all decisions are emotional at the core, it is only that once we have made them that we think of all reasons to justify them. And it probably is true. Being a stickler for ordering or buying multiple things at once and that too more often in a planned manner, I can't help it when an affectionate and long cherished wishlist item appears in front of me out of no where. A cursory trip to Oxford Bookstore made me go weak in my knees, featherweight in my wallet and ecstatic in the heart. Along with Suraj Ka Satvan Ghoda there were several other movies which were for long lying in my wishlist on Flipkart. Well, whoever said that all decisions should be rational.

Rajit Kapur's over the top acting in the play named Class of '84 was totally unlike him; nonetheless it was a good play and only showed his versatility as an actor capable of moulding himself into different roles. The movie starts with Shyam (Raghuvir Yadav) recollecting his times with and old friend of his: Manek Mulla (Rajit Kapur). Manek Mulla is a crafty story teller and used to rejoice his friends. He starts with the story of a Jamuna (Rajeshwari Sachdev) and her lover Tanna (Riju Bajaj). Tanna is a docile boy under his controlling father, Mahesar Dalal (Amrish Puri). Jamuna is married off to a much older man while Tanna to another young girl. Then Manek makes his friends hear different stories, but all connected to the first one involving new characters. The first and the last stories have considerable role of Malek himself as one of the characters. Through all the interconnected stories, which are in fact different aspects of the same one, Manek is telling his own. 

His own inability to gather courage and protect and run away with a soap-seller girl Satti (Neena Gupta) haunts him but does not show much remorse. The ability of Manek to combine economics, social welfare and even communism to conclude a story is a skill few would have. Towards the end while convincing his friends that in life we always are heading in the direction of love just like the Sun is being pulled by seven horses, and the last horse, being the youngest one is the Satvan Ghoda (the seventh horse) and hence the one representing future, Satti comes and pats his back asking for alms. Manek, unable to come to terms with what he is seeing, is dumbfounded and runs after Satti, who is scared of her own past and runs away from him towards a bright light. And Manek, just like the seventh horse, becomes the one representing the future.

The film won the 1993 National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Hindi. The movie is based on Dharmavir Bharati's novel by the same name. Rajit Kapur debuted in this one, and his acting is beyond par. The other notable actors too have done a commendable job. Shyam Benegal's direction made the story all the more beautiful. And it goes straight to my personal favourite list. 



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