The Film: Chandni Bar
Starring: Tabu, Atul Kulkarni, Raghuvir Yadav, and Vallabh Vyas
Director: Madhur Bhandharkar
Producer: Madhur Bhandharkar
topic that has never been explored to such extent in the past was bound to make its way to the script writer’s table. Even though the theme of the life of a bar dancer has been done before, it has never been done with such clarity. Produced and directed by Madhur Bhandharkar, Chandni Bar is the movie that will set the stage for what a woman’s life is like as a bar dancer. Tabu is the main star of the film. Her co-stars are Atul Kulkarni, Raghuvir Yadav, and Vallabh Vyas.
The story starts off in a very monotonous tone as Mumtaz (Tabu) is shown losing everything valuable in life; her family, her house, her pride and joy. These events force her and her uncle (Vallabh Vyas) to move from the state of Uttar Pradesh to the city of Mumbai , as their only companion in the world resides in this city. Even her Mumtaz is unable to find peace as her uncle and their companion Iqbal Chamdi (Raghuvir Yadav) force her into becoming a bar dancer at the well known Chandni Bar, a sordid and shady bar where most women have been forced into working there. This is when the true horror starts for her. As much as she hates her job she keeps doing it as her uncle was never able to land a job and the duty of supporting him fell upon her. One night the ill-fated happens to her as her uncle rapes and molests her. This changed her attitude of life completely as she continued to dance so that she could survive the dreaded business.
A better change comes in her life when she meets Potya (Atul Kulkarni). Potya is an underworld thug and a regular customer at Chandni Bar. He falls desperately in love with her and at first gets a bad reaction from Mumtaz. When Potya learns of her past he has her uncle killed and proposes marriage to her. When she learns what he had done she happily complies and the two get married. Her life starts to improve as they give birth to two children, Abhay and Payal. The happiness doesn’t last as her husband’s profession is dangerous and is one day killed by the police. Her misfortune strikes again as she is now left to take care of her two children by herself, and the only way to do this was to rejoin the Chandni Bar. Sometime later her son is arrested of a crime he didn’t commit. To raise enough funds to release him from jail Mumtaz resorts to prostitution and her daughter follows suit. Soon he is released from jail, but he has now become a tough and cynical man. He firsts kills the two inmates that molested him in jail and becomes what his father once was, an underworld gangster. Mumtaz sees a flashback of her life through her children, her son a criminal and her daughter a bar dancer. What happens through the rest of the movie; whether Mumtaz will finally find some peace, or continue to live in her misery is to be seen.
The theme of female quandary is growing in the Indian movie industry and the queen of portraying them in Tabu, as she had also done another strongly female related theme in Astitva. The director has done a wonderful job describing the character’s dilemma, and Tabu did even a better job portraying it. This should definitely rank her among the top of actresses. Atul Kulkarni has also done a good job for the short but important role he plays. So does Raghuvir Yadav. Still, the prize goes to Tabu, as she is shown on the screen for the most part of the movie. The script writers also deserve a pat on the back as the dialogues are excellent. The only minus point would be the music as it doesn’t really excite the audience, even though the theme of the movie is dull. People who like movies based on reality should go see this, but unfortunately it won’t be able to do very good business. For those who do watch it will agree it is one of the best movies made this year.