Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Prahaar: A classic movie for Nana Patekar

There are times when you watch that is so impressive that you don't mind watching it again. I found Prahaar to be one such movie. The movie was released in 1991, and it has been quite some time, but it can't take away the topical nature of the movie. The movie was directed by Nana Patekar and produced by Sudhakar Bokade. The movie had music by Laxmikant Pyarelal and lyrics by Mangesh Kulkarni.
Nana Patekar showed a commendable amount of skill in extracting good performances from the cast of characters that included Dimple Kapadia and Madhuri Dixit (there was a story floating around the time when the movie was made that he wanted a natural look, and so when one of the female leads reported to the set in make-up, he asked her to wash the make-up off). The movie does not have a direct villain, but there is a struggle against many kinds of bad elements, whether it be terrorists, or the normal city ruffians and hoodlums who take hafta (extortion money), or even of the normal population who have been so terrorised that they have lost some of their sense of right or wrong. The movie also has some good performances from the second tier of characters such as Gautam Joglekar (who plays Peter D'Souza).
The movie starts off as the story about men who have joined the army as commandos. They start to undergo the army commando training course under the tutelage of Major Chauhan (Nana - who actually took a brief training course at the army commando training course), and the course can be pretty hard, forcing many of them to feel like dropping out. Some do, but Peter does not and completes the course finally. By that time, he has developed a respect for Major Chauhan. The training course depicted is fairly detailed, with a certain amount of humour showing up.
At the end of the course, they are called to undertake an anti-terrorist operation, successful, but Peter is crippled and has to return home and leave the army. He reaches home, and his fiancee Madhuri is glad to have him back. His army training however soon causes him to start opposing the local mafia who extort money, and soon he is killed. At this time, Major Chauhan comes for the funeral, and sees how the local police is unconcerned and takes no action.
Major Chauhan takes up as a paying guest in the house of Dimple (a young widow with a small child) and gets affectionate towards the child (they never actually show any romance between Nana and Dimple, although there are many hints towards something like this possibly developing). Once he actually takes on the ruffians single-handedly when they tease Dimple, but soon realizes that the local citizens are so suppressed by the mafia that they actually turn on Nana for going against the ruffians. And then the epic scene where the gangsters (this was from an age where the use of guns was less) decide to attack Dimple's house and Nana.
They first scare Dimple and her child, and then they taunt Nana. And then the fight begins - you can see the untrained ruffians being very confident of their youth and numbers against a person who is after a single person and older than them, and yet soon they realize that the person whom they are attacking can defeat all of them, and Nana proceeds to do just that. In the process, he actually kills them, and is soon hauled up before the court. And his speech about being a soldier, and fighting against the vermin of society goes in vain, since the judge declares that his fight is misplaced, he is not responsible for repairing the civilian society, and he is sent for counseling until he is over this.
The movie is a movie that talks about how the fight against injustice is something that all of us can handle, how the personal conviction and strength of a person can make them win odds, and yet how sometime the whole fight can be futile in the face of a disinterested administration.

Prahaar (1991)

Scene where Peter wants to join the army

Dance by Madhuri Dixit in Prahaar

A great commando training scene from Prahaar (link)


sheetal said...

Prahaar remained one of my favorite movies for a long time till I got fed up with Nana's mannerisms. But he is fabulous in prahaar.
Anyways would you like to exchage link? My blog is

Anonymous said...

Brilliant story, brilliant acting by Nana and awesome message being sent.

Direction a little sketchy at times, but that stays in the background of rest of the excellence in this movie.

We need more such movies. And wish there were characters like the one portrayed by Nana Patekar in this world.

Hats off!