“‘No’ means ‘No’,” said Amitabh Bachchan in Pink.
Swara Bhaskar echoes it as erotic Anarkali who exudes
raw sensualityin her dancing and singing, just like her mother once did.The
mother she grew up admiring even as she watched her entertain men in more ways
Anarkali is a tease, her naughty songs and her suggestive
movements making her the main draw of Rangeela’s orchestra in the small town of
Aarah in Bihar. They call her desi
tandoor and jism ki haveli and
she’s fine living up to it.
Unapologetically sensuous, she admits she’s no Sati
Savitri as Rangeela doubles up as her agent and lover.
But even Anarkali has the right to say ‘No’. When
Dharmender Chauhan, the sleazy and politically well-connected Vice-Chancellor
totters up to the stage, tries to paw her all over and demands that she give in
to him, the feisty woman in her says, “No, and how dare you demean me in front
of so many?”
Writer-director Avinash Das gets the rowdiness and the
rang of the small town right with the
lyrics and the music as catchy as they are raunchy. Details like a gaily
decorated cycle and Anarkali’s jazzy clothes further help to create the perfect
It’s also believable that local cops fawn over the
Vice-Chancellor and conspire with him to vengefully brand Anarkali a whore.
Rangeela is of course ready to turn pimp to please everybody around.
It’s in the portion where Anarkali flees to Delhi with
young admirer Anwar that the director goes astray. Good Samaritans spring up,
Anarkali sings in an empty recording room where the mikes are miraculously on
for the studio owner to be mesmerised by her talent and cops from Bihar roam
around Delhi threatening people with impunity. This is a long and conveniently
written phase that does little to help the narrative.
It’s only when Anarkali returns to Aarah that both she
and the director are back in form to drive home the point that when a woman
says ‘No’, it means ‘No’, no matter who she is.
The wholesome message emanating from a small town gets
its biggest support from fiery Swara Bhaskar as the temptress as well as the
victim. Sanjay Mishra as the V-C who gets his just desserts once again proves
just what a superb actor he is, mixing comic timing into his sleazy role.
Pankaj Tripathi also comes up trumps as Rangeela.
One isn’t sure if this low-budget, low-keyfilm will
draw the audience in like Anarkali does in Aarah but it’s
definitely worth watching and applauding.
For the cast led by Swara and the spirited point they
make, Anaarkali Of Aarah gets a 3.5*
Journalist & Author