junoon 1

Shyam Benegal’s Junoon captures life in Awadh of 1857. A Pathan’s obsession with a teenaged English girl becomes the centre of a web of relationships between a complex set of individuals from three different cultural streams – the traditional Hindu, the elite Muslim, and the colonising English, who are also deeply Christian in this case. Threads of individuality, community and politics weave together, although the individual – with all his or her longings, fears and transformations of them – remains at the centre of the narrative.

Running through this intricate portrayal of psychological and cultural realities is a stark intensity of style. The film’s title – junoon – at once conveying madness, possession and passion, defines the voice with which the story is told. Every scene is deeply alive and burning with the sheer reality of what the characters are going through. There isn’t a dull moment, as if Benegal were telling us that each of our lives really matter. The melange of emotions – joy, fear, anger, disappointment – are all worthy of being known, lived. They are sacred.

Junoon 2

The ancient Indians proposed the theory of rasa, wherein a work of art is great to the degree that it takes one beyond the particular to the universal.  Where madness and passion, joy and laughter no longer remain confined to the audience or the characters portrayed, but exist on a universal level in which both artist and audience are absorbed and commune with each other, forgetting their little selves for a while, attaining release from the pettiness of a life centred on one’s own self. From this perspective, Junoon is doubtlessly a great film.

~ by tdcatss on April 10, 2015.

4 Responses to “Junoon”

  1. Been a long time, Kaif! You are back. Loved reading this review; would want to watch it along with you! :-)

  2. Thanks :)

  3. would love to watch it, after reading this…

  4. what about this makes you want to watch the film?

    you can find it on youtube. the first 7 minutes are here –

    and the rest of the film is here –

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