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Will Lajmi's Chingaari strike a chord?

The director tells the poignant tale of a sex worker's revolt against exploiters.

india Updated: Feb 15, 2006 15:57 IST
Indo-Asian News Service
Indo-Asian News Service

Filmmaker Kalpana Lajmi, known for making women-oriented films, has now come up with the poignant tale of a prostitute.

The film, releasing on Friday, is about the plight of a sex worker who finally raises her voice against the exploiters.

Chingaari, based on a short story by veteran Assamese singer and music director Bhupen Hazarika, revolves around three characters - a young postman, a sex worker and a village priest.

The young postman, Chandan Mishra played by Anuj Sawhney, is a crusader of sorts while Sushmita plays Basanti, the sex worker. The turning point in Basanti's life comes when she gains the respect of Chandan. But she is not allowed to even dream of a relationship with him.

Mithun Chakraborty plays Bhuvan Panda, the village priest who secretly lusts for Basanti. But Basanti revolts and the film's title Chingaari is drawn from this spark of revolt.

Filmmaker Kalpana Lajmi, known for making women-oriented films, has now come up with the poignant tale of a prostitute.

The climax of the film sees the exploited Basanti rising like a goddess and unleashing a fury to crush the exploiters and their dual standards.

Armed with a trident, she embodies the fury of the gods and rips open the façade of those who preach spirituality but practice vice.

Lajmi first offered the powerful role to Bipasha Basu, Raveena Tandon and Preity Zinta. When they turned it down, she approached Sushmita.

The male lead was also offered to several top-notch actors like Akshay Kumar, Akshaye Khanna and Tusshar Kapoor. But none was willing to don the greasepaint for the soft, romantic character. So Kalpana settled for the lesser-known Anuj.

A slight rift was created between the director and the actress by leaks about a kissing scene. But the storm blew over as Lajmi sorted things out with Sushmita.

Lajmi's fans had been hugely disappointed by her poor craftsmanship in Daman and Kyon?

, which came in 2001, was the feeble tale of a suppressed woman where Raveena played the role of the exploited wife. But the film failed to offer any solutions to violence against women.

This was followed by Kyon? in 2003, which was also a disappointment. One hopes Chingaari has something better to offer.

First Published: Feb 15, 2006 15:57 IST