Arth (1982) – A Mahesh Bhat Film


One cannot but think of how ‘woman’ , ‘relationships’, ‘love’ are treated with authenticity in a Mahesh Bhat film. Or is it the case with all the films of yesterday?

Arth explores values, relationships, expectations, feminism, glamour, greed and every possible aspect of human existence with an unparalleled intensity.

Pooja, a girl who grew up in an orphanage desires a stable home after her marriage. It is her dream. Pooja argues with her husband when he quits jobs and presses him for the realization of her dream, her own home.

While her husband played by Kulbhushan Kharbanda buys her a dream home and lavishes her with enough money to adorn it the way she wants, there is a catch to it.

The money he gave his wife was a price for his ensuing absence from her life, paid by his mistress, the famous actress, Kavitha essayed by Smitha Patil.

With the most acclaimed Indian actresses of the times, Shabana Azmi and Smitha Patil pitted against each other as the wife and the love interest of the man, Kulbushan Kharbanda, the story is set to intrigue and entice, with exceptional acting and great onscreen chemistry. Shabana’s waif like slim and slender appearance with clear skin and bright eyes is a treat to watch. In fact, it is her eyes that speak,emote and act in the movie.

When Pooja comes to know of the truth behind her husband’s actions, she vacates the house and moves into a hostel with just Rs. 2000 which she initially had with her. Pooja is comforted by the pleasant company of a Ghazal singer, Raj, who proposes to her.

Pooja’s maid whom she had often counselled and comforted is jailed for the murder of her husband. Pooja adopts the young girl and decides to bring her up as her own.

Pooja signs divorce papers for her husband Inder and even goes to Kavitha’s home to assure her that she was not going to topple their love life.

Inder, Pooja’s husband in the meanwhile has difficulty in his relationship with Kavitha who is insecure about Inder and Pooja.

Kavitha requests Inder to return to his wife.

When Inder returns Pooja expresses her unwillingness to accept him.

Pooja also declines Raj’s proposal to marry her.

She decides to spend the rest of her life with her maid’s daughter, now adopted by her.

I have always wondered at the As-You-Like-It-ness of love and life. You love someone, that someone loves another someone and it goes on….

The inability of one human being to find happiness in what he/she has can lead to endless confusions and trials in the lives of so many others.

But, it is one life, as they say, it is up to each one to decide what is that he/she wants from life.

In matters of love and living, nothing there is no absolutes in terms of right or wrong.

The movie has some excellent ghazals sung by Jagjeet Singh and Chithra Singh, my personal favourite being ..tum itna jo muskara rahe ho…kya gum hai jo chupa rahe ho…

Was it Shelley who said, our sweetest songs are those that sing of our saddest thoughts?!


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