Bazaar(1982) – A tale of golden hens.


Cast : Naseerudin Shah, Smita Patil , Bharat Kapoor , Farooq Shaikh , Supriya Pathak.

Direction by : Sagar Sarhadi.

Plot : Bazaar is a movie about bride buying by Arabs/NRI’s.The crux of the story is that Najma(Smitha Patil),is trying to get a young bride,for Shakir Hussain,from the ‘Bazaar’(market).

My view in detail : Bazaar belongs to the art film category,and that is the reason I kept postponing my plan to watch this movie. But,ironically, Bazaar is a movie that stuck to me for hours even after watching it. It hit me hard ,and shaking it off me is a task that is still taking time.

Released in 1982,this movie has the same relevance now,as it had 35 years ago. The movie deals with bride buying by Arabs/NRI’s,or should I say,a situation where filthy rich old men buy themselves a young little virgin girl, usually in her late teens. A situation which is supposed to be prevalent even now in Northern Kerala. Most of them are sent back home, a couple of years after their marriage, back to their hometown, along with a couple of babies.

Bazaar is set partly in Mumbai, and in Hyderabad. Najma(Smitha Patil),considered a golden hen by her family, elopes with Akhtar(Bharat Kapoor).Circumstances are such that,the two cannot get married,due to parental pressure from Akhtar’s side and financial difficulties as well.Najma spends her time day dreaming about Akhtar,who comes in the night to spend time with her,and leaves early in the morning, even before she wakes up.

Salim(Naseeruddin Shah),is a poet,who broods over Najma,and his one sided love for her,is a well known fact.

Fast forward,Shakir Hussain(B R Chopra),a pot bellied , bald , aged NRI,who after seeing Najma,nurses a desire to get married to someone like her,for which he promises a fat commission to Najma and Akhtar.Najma,greedy by the thought of money and eager to settle down with Akhtar, agrees to it unwillingly.In a time span of 7 days,they zero in on a young teenager,Shabnam(Supriya Pathak) for Shakir Hussain.

Shabnam,a young bubbly playful teenager’s life gets turned around in a matter of a second. Her shrieks are horrifying.Sajju(Farooq Shaikh),who is in a relationship with Shabnam,turns in to a helpless brooding guy,who pleads to Shakir Hussain,to not to marry Shabnam.He pleads helplessly to her parents to not to get her married.The final meeting between Sajju and Shabnam,is very heartbreaking. The scene at the Dargah,where she says,that she has come to pick up the corpse of her dead desires, is equally powerful.

The rest of movie has powerful performances by Najma, Salim, Shabnam and Sajju(Farooqui Shaik).It is heart breaking to see, girls of various age groups queue up to be liked by Shakir. Many mothers are show pleading to Najma, to give their daughter and their families, a new lease of life.A lot of people are mute spectators to the entire drama, who are helpless. Najma stays with a stoned face, her body clearly showing that she is upset. She says in one scene,just give charity to wash off the sins, and to feel better . Later, she breaks down, telling she doesn’t know who she is.

I liked the scene where a drunk Salim,ridicules Shakir Hussain so much,that any man of decent stature,would give away the thought of marrying,rather buying a teenager. This movie ridicules the patriarchal society we live in,the way women are treated as cheap ‘commodities’ and the importance of a woman being independent.

The movie has a couple of good songs as well.The famous song,Phiri chiddi raat is from Bazaar.The movie, however has a lot of urdu, used in it. Subtitles helped me sail through smoothly.

Bazaar,gave me a heartache as well as a headache. I still cant stop thinking about the powerhouse performances,and I wonder,what the actors must have done to shake off the trauma of the onscreen characters,off them.If watching such a movie is a hard hitting experience,I cant help but,wonder what the helpless poverty stricken girls must be going through.I cant help but think about the numerous, Najma’s,Shabnam’s and Sajju’s I must have passed by.

Though a art house movie, this deserves to be watched. Bazaar,is available on Youtube.


Quotes that caught me :

Aap ko kuch yaad nahi hai,aapne kya kiya hai raat main?

Jo aadmi aurat ka sauda karta hai,usse kareedtha hai,main usse bahut gunegaar kahta hu.

Mere ko jawaab nahi dete hai ye log.

Jiss din tum bina sahara ki jeena sikhogi,uss din tum Najma hogi.

Maine apse zindagi maangi thi,aaj main apne armaano ki laash vaapas le kar jaa rahi hu.

Mujse Mera kirdaar cheen liya.

Main aapke bagair rah sakthi hu,Akhtar saahab.










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