(Last Updated on : 07/04/2014)
The Indian movie, 'Astitva' is about a woman's struggle to find her identity. A story told in candid manner, it's most refreshing aspect is that it does not fall in the lines of clichéd; strident feminist tones in treating the subject. In our society when a male having an extra-marital affair is a sign of manhood but when the same thing happens to a woman it is regarded as a sign of weakness. The man should be the breadwinner of the family while the woman has no need to work. A man should be able to have sex whenever he wants to regardless of whether his wife is willing. The above chauvinist statements may sound outrageous and extortionate but sadly many men all over the world believe them to be true. The movie concentrates on such a topic that can be seen among any class of people.
Synopsis of the Indian movie 'Astitva'
The Indian Movie 'Astitva' revolves around the story of a female protagonist who is standing in between her son and her husband. Rather this film is about the identity of the husband and wife in a marriage.
The story starts in the year 1997 where Malhar Kamat played by Mohnish Bahl is an old musician and music teacher. He prepares his will where he leaves his entire jaydad i.e. estate, comprising a haveli or mansion, 1.5 acres of land, a not-so-insignificant quantity of gold and about 8 lakh rupees, to Aditi Shrikant Pandit played by Tabu. Upon his death two years later, the will is delivered to Aditi.
The present scenario is the year of 1999. When the will reaches Aditi in Pune, she is in the midst of an impromptu lunch party occasioned by the arrival of Dr. Ravi Bapat played by Ravindra Mankani and his wife Meghna played by Smita Jaykar. Ravi is a very close friend of Aditi's husband, Shrikant Pandit played by Sachin Khedekar. Shrikant opens the certified letter package with the will even though it is addressed to Aditi, much to Meghna's embarrassment and Ravi's surprise. What is the reason that Malhar Kamat did such an action. Shrikant decides to consult his daily diaries where he has chronicled the events of his daily life.
Flashback to about 25 years ago. Shrikant is an up-and-coming star at a firm, seeking to break out onto his own. His work keeps him traveling almost constantly. This leaves his newly wedded wife Aditi lonely and frustrated. Often Shrikant has one-night-stands with other woman and the only times when he showers his love on his wife is when he needs to satiate his sexual desire. And Aditi, like an ideal Bhartiya patni takes it all stoically. She is a quintessential middle class wife. When she requests him to let her work someplace to relieve her boredom and find a good use for her time, he immediately refuses it. He takes it as an insult and repulses her saying no woman in his family has ever worked and that he earns enough for them to live comfortably. He suggests that she take up music. Although this was not a very enthusiastic decision still she starts learning music and the music teacher is Malhar Kamat. Shrikant continues his unending travels all over the world. Aditi is still lonely and frustrated. Her frustration is provoked further by the arrival of her sister Sudha played by Resham Seth and her new husband. Their constant lovemaking further deepens Aditi's feelings of yearning and abandonment. And one spring afternoon, as Malhar breaks into his new ghazal in the rain, Aditi's resolve is broken under the influence of the season and they do it with mutual consent. Malhar returns a couple of days later, and Aditi asks him to leave. She is torn with guilt and fear since the unfortunate event, the damage is done. Malhar quietly leaves as he starts growing feelings fot Aditi.
When Shrikant returns, Aditi breaks down and tries to tell him the truth about her pregnancy. But Shrikant is doubly elated, having won the first major contract for his own firm and now hearing of his imminent fatherhood. He breaks out into celebrations without letting Aditi complete her story. Aditi also tries to take the incident normally as she was married and there was as such no problem to continue the pregnancy.
Back to the present day, Shrikant discovers, from his diary entries, and come up with a shocking conclusion that he could not have conceived their son. He make out Malhar Kamat's connection to his son Aniket played by Sunil Barve. He immediately summons Ravi and Meghna to Pune and forces Aditi to confess her indiscretion. Aditi confesses. Hell breaks loose and Aniket disowns his mother, Shrikant freaks out but refuses to divorce her and pronounces punishment. She must live with him as long as it takes and he will not henceforth speak to her. Meghna and Ravi try to talk him down but he remains adamant. Meghna who is divorced from her former husband who had similar character traits to Shrikant, is stunned by this and reveals it to Revati played by Namrata Shirodkar. Revati promptly breaks off her engagement to Aniket.
Things finally become worse. Divorce seems inevitable. Aditi makes up her mind about her astitva or identity. Tired of her drab existence and unable to take it anymore Aditi gives in and walks away from marriage, her household, her family in search of herself. It is the beginning of a new life, the opening of a new chapter and the dawn of a new day after a dark and horrifying night. She delivers a landmark speech to Shrikant, in the midst of Aniket, Ravi and Meghna. The speech touches critical points about their marriage , her feelings and his feelings , Shrikant's fidelity and commitment and Aniket's stand and resolve.
The end part is really cherishing. It suggests that everyone in this society sometimes should think about oneself as nobody else can do this better.
Cast and Crew of 'Astitva'
The star cast of the film 'Astitva' includes Tabu, Sachin Khedekar, Tavindra Mankani, Smita Jaykar, Mohnish Bahl and Namrata shirodkar. The movie is written and directed by Mahesh Manjrekar, while it is produced by Rahul Sughand. Mahesh Manjrekar and Imtiyaz Husain write the story while music is given by Rahul Ranade and Sukhwinder Singh.
Awards for 'Astitva'
The Bollywood film 'Astitva' is an award-winner as because it was critically acclaimed and also applauded for its bold topic. In the year of 2000 the film got filmfare best actress award for critic's choice and the award was for Tabu. In the same year Tabu also got Star Screen award as best actress while Mahesh Manjrekar got awarded Star Screen for best story.