20 August 2011 | Peter_Young
Rekha in the first great performance of her career
Manik Chatterjee's Ghar starts as an ordinary but highly watchable story of a newly married couple: Vikas and Aarti, who try to make it on their own. Except for a few poor attempts at comedy, I liked a lot of things in it, particularly the sequence showing the interaction between Vikas and his father. There was nothing typically overdone in the way his father's disapproval of the marriage was presented. I appreciate mainstream Hindi filmmakers who try to portray their films realistically, and that's what director Chatterjee and writer Dinesh Thakur do here (I would not want to generalise, but I noticed this was the case with most Bengali filmmakers). The dialogues and the situations are for the most part very simple.
But the film becomes far more interesting after a tragic incident when Aarti is brutally gang-raped by four thugs. Rarely do Hindi films portray rape with such disturbing honesty. However, what I found even more impressive is what happens next. The proceeding sequences present both Vikas and Aarti trying to deal with the situation. Aarti becomes completely traumatised and withdrawn, seeing herself as a burden to her husband, while Vikas hopelessly tries to act as if nothing has happened. The film turns into an effective psychological drama, and the restraint with which the subject is handled is surprising and unexpected. There's no melodrama, and the development of the story is very engaging and involving.
Rekha is excellent in what she herself considers to be her first great role. Having seen several of her previous films of that decade, I admit this is my least favourite period in her career. At that time she used to get mostly insubstantial or unworthy roles. Ghar marked the beginning of a new phase in her career, which according to me is the best period of her work in films. Rekha shines as Aarti. She is natural, restrained and compelling, and in later portions plays the most difficult scenes with ease and intensity. Vinod Mehra plays the loving and caring husband exceedingly well and is equally convincing. The supporting cast is mostly good, and the music by R.D. Burman is melodious. Ghar is a good Hindi drama, I recommend.