A man and a woman sit together in a moving train. It is night. The only sound is that of the train moving. Their silence reveals that guilt gnaws at their conscience. Then, both of them look up and stare at the camera, at you, the viewer. A few moments pass. The film ends.

The last scene of playwright Sagar Sarhadi’s film Bazaar (1982) carries a quiet intensity that sears through the entire film. A work of stark realism, Bazaar explores the tragic lives of two women – Shabnam and Najma – in a traditional, patriarchal society. One survives until the story is over, the other does not. More than 30 years after the film, women all around us still suffer the same fate, a fate that acquires new garbs but does not die.

Among the many brilliant pieces of cinema that emerged from the Indian New Wave, Bazaar takes the sense of verity and the social concerns of that movement to relatively uncharted territory – the Muslim middle-class and its culture, crumbling away but still imbued with a deep sense of poetry. A raw, quiet, striking narrative is woven together with some of the most beautiful poetry by Mir, Makhdum and Bashar Nawaz set to music. Perhaps it would not be incorrect to say that Khayyam’s score for the film is one of the best in the history of Bombay cinema. As one desolate, deserted character sits quietly, remembering the one he loved, we hear Bashar Nawaz’s poem sung in the background.

karoge yaad to har baat yaad aayegi
guzarte waqt ki har mauj theher jaayegi

gali ke mod pe
soona sa koi darvaaza
tarasti aankhon se
rasta kisi ka dekhega
nigaah dur talak ja ke laut aayegi
karoge yaad to har baat yaad aayegi

Somewhat suprisingly, these two contrasting styles of cinema never feel dissonant. They merge together to create a most memorable film, which stuns with its seriousness and melts the heart with its beauty. Not unlike two of its central characters – the profoundly thoughtful, outraged, wounded Salim (Naseeruddin Shah) and the gorgeous, delicate but pathless Najma (Smita Patil). As the film ends, one is left with the pain of the women and men who populate this story, but also with gratitude to the filmmaker for a deeply moving experience that one will not forget.

~ by tdcatss on January 8, 2015.

2 Responses to “Bazaar”

  1. A most beautiful movie with a strong narrative and equally strong performances. It came out during the second wave of feminism which centred around anti-dowry agitation.

  2. i didn’tknow that

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