They say, the more local a story, the more global it is. This seems to be the formula that's working big time. Some really good films have emerged this year based on the hinterlands of India. ISHQIYA and PEEPLI [LIVE] instantaneously come to one's mind. ANTARDWAND offers yet another untold story to join the bandwagon.
Raghuveer (Raj Singh Chaudhary), who has just appeared for his Civil Services exams, visits his parents in the interiors of Bihar. He is rebuked by his fastidious father Madhukar Shahi (Vinay Pathak) against marrying his pregnant girlfriend Sia (Himanshi) in Delhi. Madhukar has already given his zabaan to someone for Raghuveer's marriage.
A peeved Raghuveer cuts his Bihar visit short and leaves for Delhi. But just before he could get out of the village, he's abducted by another stubborn father Mahendra Babu (Akhilendra Mishra), who had earlier requested Madhukar to marry his son to his daughter Janki (Swati Sen). He had even offered a huge sum as dowry but to no avail.
Raghuveer is severely beaten up and tortured, for practically no fault of his. The pehelwaans of Mahendra Babu are instructed to hit him everywhere but his face, or else shaadi ka photu acha nahin aayega. Yes, you heard that right. He's about to get forcefully married to Janki.
Based on a true story, ANTARDWAND captivates you with its simple yet shocking tale. Director Sushil Rajpal narrates a poignant story with precision. He has thrown light on a rampant issue of groom abduction which not many might be aware of.
Not only is the couple forced to marry, but also compelled to sleep together, which is very unsettling. The twists throughout the film keep you hooked and enthralled. Sushil keeps an open ending which is real at the same time disturbing.
It's full of some wonderful scenes. Janki, in a bid to lure Raghuveer compares her name to Raghuveer's girlfriend Sia, saying that they mean the same. Watching Raghuveer getting married while he's asleep is hilarious as well as flummoxing.
After GULAAL, Raj Sigh Chaudhary gives another strong performance. Swati Sen is impressive. Akhilendra Mishra gets into his character perfectly. Vinay Pathak's performance is striking. Jaya Bhattacharya is excellent. Himanshi doesn't have much to do in the film.
ANTARDWAND is a must watch for its heart rending story and strong performances.