Swara Bhaskar’s Anaarkali Of Aarah has won over the critics. The film has managed to score more than the bigger release this year – Anushka Sharma’s Phillauri.
Anaarkali of Aarah Review by Shubhra Gupta on Indian Express
The payoff seems to have been created for an upbeat ending, but we can’t help cheering when Anar rises, refuses to be cowed : whatever kind of labour it may be— which includes women who strut their stuff– dignity is paramount. Anaarkali manages to hit many marks. Bhaskar gets a lead role worthy of her. Das is a new director to watch out for. And more than anything else, it is a ladies-oriented film. Enough and more, in these dismal times.
Anaarkali of Aarah Review by Savera R Someshwar on Rediff
Swara Bhaskar has the pulse of every emotion she has to portray — flirty, joy, sorrow, anger, weakness, frustration and you-don’t-know it-yet-but-I-am-going-to-get-you. Sanjay Mishra too is consistently good, especially in that chilling moment when he moves from cajoling to threatening in a second. Pankaj Tripathi and the young actor who plays Anwar, the teen who crushes on Anaarkali, are perfect as foils to the fiery Swara. There is impressive attention to detail in the music, the sound, the cinematography, the production design, the dialogues and the direction.
Anaarkali of Aarah Review by Rohit Vats on Hindustan Times
Director Avinash Das displays his understanding of the delicate social structure of Bihar, where pretention of being a morally righteous guy is more important that actually being one. He very smartly makes the audience the third party, and then makes it difficult for them to stay neutral. Slowly and steadily the tide takes a turn in favour of the underdog.
Anaarkali of Aarah Review by Saibal Chatterjee on NDTVMovies
Anaarkali of Aarah is the kind of film that you want to applaud, especially on account of the concerns that it articulates. But it leaves you deeply dissatisfied. It could have done with much more passion and flair. It is worse than a misfire. It doesn’t fire at all despite the magnificently full-blooded pivotal performance from Swara Bhaskar. But let’s cut writer-director Avinash Das some slack. He knows what he is talking about. If only he had managed to pack a little more zip and zing into the exercise, the whiplash would have hit home harder. But this critic, despite the disappointment that Anaarkali of Aarah is, will look forward to Das’ next outing. There is a better film hiding in him.
Review by Pallabi Dey Purkayastha on Deccan Chronicle
The film does have its moments of sheer brilliance, specially in the humour department. But its adamancy with the narrative technique and unnecessary inclusion of minutest of details spoils the game. Both Sanjay Mishra and Pankaj Tripathi (as Rangeela) have played their parts well but they are nowhere close to what you would expect out of two experienced actors like them. Just like another female-centric film of recent times, Anarkali sets foot on the unexplored territories of revenge and redemption, only this time, she is both the damsel in distress and her knight in shining armour.
Review by Mayank Shekhar on Mid-Day India
Anaarkali sings and dances to them on stage. While Bihar’s ‘launda dance’ (cross-dressed men) is quite famous, I haven’t seen a live performance like Anaarkali’s before. And no, it’s nothing like Bipasha’s ‘Bidi jalaile’ from ‘Omkara’. This is feisty Swara, simultaneously submissive and full of desi swag—her gait, expressions, and accent absolutely spot-on. She floors you with her subtle moves. As does her movie, for the most part. It’s hard to come across a performance so gut-wrenchingly real. It’s hard to tell Swara from Anaarkali of Arrah, who’s thankfully not another ‘abla nari’ either.
Review by Renuka Vyavahare on The Times Of India
Given its risqué subject, the film could have gone awfully wrong if the execution had faltered or tilted on sleazy over substance. But writer, director Avinash Das’ execution lends gravitas to the proceedings, making you feel for the lead character. Most importantly, this film finally gives Swara Bhaskar an opportunity to put her exemplary acting chops on display. She is a revelation as a pan-chewing, courageous woman, who won’t buckle under pressure. Ishtiyak Khan of ‘Tamasha’ fame is impressive too. The music compliments the film’s raw and rustic setting as well.
Review by IANS on Zeenews
A dizzying, combative explosive expose of smaltown hooliganism and a spunky girl’s determination to survive all odds, “Anaarkali Of Aarah” has a memorable gallery of actors giving the goings-on a sterling push and a bracing vigour with their performances. I have to single out Sanjai Mishra as the sleazeball academician, Vijay Kumar as his murky cop in crime, Pankaj Tripathi as Anaarkali’s partner on stage, Mayor More as her callow infatuated utterly devoted lover-boy. Nitin Arora as back-alley music baron and last but certainly not the least Ishteyak Khan as a smalltown man who knows how to respect a woman. These are not just performances. They are classrooms of impeccable characterisations. But above all there is Sawara Bhaskar giving what history will record as one of the bravest and most important performances by a female actor in post-modernist Bollywood.
Review by Vishal Verma on Glamsham
A movie surrounded by strong actors, ANAARKALI OF AARAH sees magnificent contribution from Sanjay Mishra as the villain -this actor can never go wrong. Pankaj Tripathi as the leader of Anar’s band is outstanding and perfectly natural. Ishtiaq Khan is completely endearing. Vijay Kumar as Bulbul Pandey is fabulous. Mayur More as Anwar is fantastic. It’s debatable how much it will excite the hoi polloi but certainly ANAARKALI OF AARAH is an appositely trenchant and rustic cry for women empowerment backed by Swara Bhaskar’s top notch performance.
Review by Manisha Lakhe on Nowrunning
Credit goes to the writer-director for creating such amazing ensemble. You even notice the grumpy goon (called Muffler) who does not like what the VC is doing. Yes, the recording studio owner does overdo it a bit, but on the whole you are happy you watched the film without feeling like you need to be a part of the anti-lewd song brigade. It could have been sleazy so easily. You know and anticipate the end from a mile away, but when it comes, somewhere inside you like the comeuppance. Swara Bhaskar holds the movie in her manicured hands. She is magnificent. You can’t help but stare at her, unabashedly. Watch!
Review by Jaidev Hemmady on Movietalkies
As for the film itself, Anaarkali Of Aarah comes across as the rural equivalent of Pink but what makes the film bigger is the fact that it doesn’t have the megastar Amitabh Bachchan admonishing the audience in his impressive baritone that a ‘No means No’. Here, Bhaskar does most of the talking and that too, with dialogues liberally peppered with abuses. The film has some powerful dialogues and the climax scene is sure to make you pump your fist in the air as Anaarkali finally gets her vengeance. Don’t be discouraged by the rural flavor or the small-budget of the film… Anaarkali Of Aarah is definitely worth watching, even if you have seen and enjoyed Pink.
Review by Subhash K Jha on DNA India
As the protagonist’s destiny goes out of control so does the narrative. ?After a point this heroine’s tale has a will of its own. You suspect neither the writer-director nor the actress playing Anaarkali can control her destiny.They, like us, can only move back and gawk in amazement as this astounding female hero takes on the empowered goons co-powered by the louts LaLu Land.?It could be daunting for those who do not understand the sexual politics of the North Indian hinterland.? The smell,the feel, the flavour and the emotions of the stiflingly patriarchal small-town is so palpable, you are swept into the vortex of the film’s vibrant vista. Full marks to the film’s cinematographer Arvind Kannabiran for making Aarah and Anarkali seem wedded to one another , and of course Rohit Kumar’s authentic folk songs ….they add so much value to the proceedings.
Review by Shomini Sen on News18
the film works for its tight script- which never dwindles- and for its powerful story. That a marginalized section also has the right to speak up against any kind of atrocity is something that the film highlights well. Its a small film with no ‘big’ star in it, yet it is perhaps the most important film of this season. Because once again, yet another film drives home a very important point. No matter what strata you belong to, no matter what your profession is- a ‘No’ always means just that.
Anaarkali of Aarah Review by Mumbai Mirror
Writer-director Avinash Das deserves credit for drafting visuals that build tension and keep one consistently worried for the characters on screen. While the story had only as much, he manages to intensify the proceedings by throwing his characters in situations they’d barely be imagined to swim out of.
Anaarkali of Aarah Review by Indiaglitz
The story is on the lines of ‘Pink’ and still has its own distinctive points. Also, the treatment is slow and repetitive after a while and drags a lot in the second half of the film. The second half could have been up to the mark, if only the story and the screenplay in that part would had been more detailed and connecting. There are many songs in this movie, especially in the start of the film. These songs lack the connectivity, but at the same time are essential enough to establish the character of Swara Bhaskar. Sanjay Mishra does a decent job as a comical villain, but ends up being a victim of half-baked script. Pankaj Triparthy is cute, but wasted.
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