Kalpana LajmiĀ“s Darmiyan is a fantastic film. The film has all the characteristics of what makes a film work. It is sorrowful, classy, and entertaining. Set in the Bollywood scene in the 1940s, it deals with issues such as alcoholism, eunuchs, depression, and failure.
The film features Kiron Kher whose character, Sardari Begum, plays actress Zennat Begum, a person who has everything she could possibly want in life including fortune and fame. Unfortunately, ZeenatĀ“s happiness is shattered when she finds that her son, Emmi (Arif Zakharia) is a eunuch. She avoids him at all costs and neglects him until ZeenatĀ“s mother steps in and adopts the child. Emmi finds the love and care that he needs with ZeenatĀ“s mother, and eventually Zeenat loses her No. 1 position in the film industry to Chitra (Tabu) along with her lover, Indar (Shahbaaz Khan). All of this pushes her to alcoholism and forces her into depression because she simply cannot cope with her failure. She begins to reject the people who love her and is scared to love again. Meanwhile, Emmi tries to help his troubled mother and shows her that he has confidence in her. He adopts an abandoned child but is forced to give her to Chitra because of society's cruel ways. Finally, Emmi returns to his mother's home and tries to help make what's left of her shattered life more peaceful.
Darmiyan goes down in my book with the movies Saaz and Sardari Begum as one of the decade's ten best films. I loved every minute of it. It had everything: acting, an excellent plot, music by Bhupin Hazarika (creator of the excellent Dil Hoom Hoom Kare, one of the decadeĀ“s 10 best songs, from Rudaali), and brilliant direction.
Kiron Kher deserves a multitude
of awards for her powerful and moving performance as Zeenat. She is now one of my favorite actresses after Sardari Begum and now Darmiyan. She not only looks pretty but acts amazingly. She has given, without a doubt, one of the best performances of the year and of her career. Tabu has done excellent also. It is amazing how she can turn a small role into one of
substance and wit, like she did in Virasat (especially),
Maachis, and Saaza-E-Kaalapani. She is way past her Tu Chor, Main Siphai days. Darmiyan puts her leagues ahead of any other actress in Bollywood today, except for a select few (Seema Biswas, Kiron Kher, Shabana Azmi. She is on the same level as them, not leagues ahead). She is suited for the art movies, not mainstream cinema. Shahbaaz Khan has done very well in his limited role as ZeenatĀ“s lover. Arif Zakharia is a very talented actor who will make a name for himself eventually. He has also given an award winning performance with his portrayal as the
The film's music by Bhupen Hazarika is, as usual, an experience. It is classy and very soothing. I loved all the songs, especially Pigalta Sama, which is sung very well by Asha and Udit. It is definitely a change from the usual crap churning out of Bollywood back in those days (ie: Barana De - Insaaf, China China - Aunty No. 1, Cham Cham Chandini - Anu Agarwal starrer Janam Kundli). Direction by Kalpana Lajmi is excellent. Even the background music was good. Everything about this movie makes it a must see. ItĀ“s too bad that the movie did so poorly in cinemas. It truly deserved to be a hit.
Darmiyan is a powerful and moving experience and a must see for everyone.