Chingaari


A woman centric film that deals with the love and life of a sex worker. Sushmita Sen plays a prostitute in this Kalpana Lajmi film. However, this concept of exploring the life of a prostitute is not a novel concept in bollywood, it has been tried and tested several times. Nonetheless, it is Lajmi’s view on this subject, which she brings forth in this film.

Chingaari is set in Rangpur, a tiny village in rural India. Lalbatti is a redlight area in this village where these night queens come out to satisfy the lust of many men who visit this area. Basanti (Sushmita Sen) is also a prostitute in Lalbatti who sells her body but not her soul. She falls in love with Chandan (Anuj Sawhney) the postman after spending a night of lust with him. He too is in love with Basanti and wants to give her and her daughter a better life away from this red light area.

Basanti and Chandan decide to get married; however, Bhuvan a priest in the village who is both revered and feared by the villagers stands in their way. Bhuvan (Mithun Chakrborthy) is an evil man who dominates the innocent villagers; he extorts money and wields his power over them. He is a demon with lust in his heart and uses all the women in the village to satisfy himself. Bhuvan wants to exert his power and thus eliminates Chandan, this leaves Basanti crushed. However, she rises and d finally decides to eliminate this evil god man. She gets the entire village to revolt against their age-old customs and practices of blindly accepting these faithless god men.

The theme deals with a very serious issue, however it may very well not appeal to an urban audience with so many urban-based theme movies currently coming to the fore. A woman centric film immediately tends to alienate the men in society as they consider it an all woman territory.

The movie is exceptionally long and winding, and the songs only seem to break the narrative. The songs seem to have been intertwined into the script, merely to make it commercially viable. The editor could have done a better job, as the latter part of the movie seemed pointlessly long.

Chingaari deals with a strong subject, prostitution. Along with this, it also deals with illiteracy, sexual exploitation and the image of god men. There are some very strong and impressionable scenes done by Sushmita and Mithun. Sushmita makes a mark with her fine acting, her expressions tell of the immense plight and rare happiness that she faces. The background music towards the end is well tuned in with the situation. Mithun is also very good in the movie; he has a meaty role, which he uses to his advantage. Anuj Sawhney, although a novice manages to keep in step with the veterans. Ila Arun plays her part well. The sets and costumes manage to capture the feel of rural India.

However, although giving the director due credit for her good choice of subject, Chingaari does not manage to make an impact. Somewhere while trying to make the film commercial and artistic, the director has managed to miss her mark and has been unable to attain either. Also viewers have gotten too used to what to expect from Lajmi, as all her films have been women centric, this has managed to take away some of the novelty from her film. Also the climax is a little unrealistic, the part where Basanti manages to convince an entire village to revolt. Kalpana Lajmi has tried to portray that goodness always triumphs over evil, but in the process has managed to miss the realism aspect. The dialogues too have a lot of rural Hindi dialect, which may not be comprehensible to all.

The treatment of the film is average and so is the plot and screenplay. It has a rural setting and feel which may not appeal to masses. Overall Chingaari does not manage to create a wave of empathy and sympathy for the character. Moreover, as for its mass appeal, it is below satisfactory.