Saturday, 9 February 2013

Satyakam (1969) Review by Shivom Oza - Dharmendra, Dialogues Steal The Show

3/5 Stars

The film 'Satyakam' is a Dharmendra-Sanjeev Kumar starrer, directed by Hrishikesh Mukherjee. Another slice-of-life representation by the legendary auteur!

The 1969 film, based on a Bengali novel of the same title, written by a renowned writer Narayan Sanyal, is a poignant tale about how a righteous individual had to give up his life, while trying to lead a truthful life. Dharmendra, Sanjeev Kumar, Sharmila Tagore and Ashok Kumar deliver brilliant performances in this melancholic drama.

The film revolves around Satyapriya Acharya's (Dharmendra) struggle to choose between right and wrong. For him, there has never been any choice - it has always been concurrent with the foundations of truth and honesty. Be it a normal class lecture, a work assignment, a building contract, a woman's chastity, accepting an 'impure' lady or any other matter, Satyapriya has always chosen the 'right' path. And for this, he has always ended up bearing the brunt of this self-centred society of the newly independent country. Satyapriya's fight against all the corrupt elements of the society takes such an intense turn that he starts questioning himself. Over his journey, his grandfather Satyasharan Acharya (Ashok Kumar), wife Ranjana (Sharmila Tagore) and his friend Narendra Sharma (Sanjeev Kumar) play an important, not necessarily instrumental, role.

An interesting line uttered by Dharmendra's Satyapriya in this film goes on the lines of 'Honest is not a policy. In fact, dishonesty is a policy. Honesty is religion to me.' The film is filled with similar thought-provoking gems. The writing team, comprising Bimal Dutta, Rajinder Singh Bedi and the original author Narayan Sanyal, come up with a profound story and screenplay. Hrishikesh Mukherjee has pulled off this satire, albeit with a tragic undertone, with impeccable perfection. There are a few blips on the way - the length, the underwhelming music and several editing errors. However, these mistakes can largely be attributed to the era in which the film was made.

It is a compelling watch and there are few scenes, which will certainly give you goose bumps if not a few tears. Dharmendra and the dialogue writers are clearly the winners here!

Shivom Oza

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