Suraj Ka Saatvaan Ghoda was directed by Shyam Benegal and it’s based on the novel of same name written by Dharmveer Bharati. Main roles have been played by Rajit Kapoor, Amrish Puri, Neena Gupta, and Raghuveer Yadav. This is a unique story. If a great story becomes a foundation for a great movie, this is a most significant example of the same. This movie has many outlier features as an Indian movie. Before Memento (2001) I had not seen technique of showing a single scene from many perspectives, but this movie had many such scenes as early as in 1992 when it was made. The narration is multi-layered. The raconteur and prime-protagonist of movie is played by Rajit Kapoor and he has done this with a great degree of refinement. You cannot overlook the fact that theatre experience of most of the actors of this movie made it possible to create such fine performances. Shyam Benegal’s cast is perfect and I did not find any weaklings in the movie. The usage of regional-dialects in speech along with standard Hindi makes pinch of humour perfectly set in otherwise tragic socio-romantic melodrama. As said earlier, there are many layers to this drama. When one of the characters visits an art gallery, he recalls ( because of one of the paintings in the gallery…) the pastime discussions he used to have along with his other friends, in company of Manik Mulla; where Mulla used to tell them many stories and since Mulla was a literati, his views were considered eminent. In one such discussion, Mulla narrates a few most moving stories which are based primarily on his own romantic affairs and these stories are so interconnected and interwoven that he has to continue telling these until the second day. Inside his stories there are other narrations, making this story a multi-layered complex-threaded story. Mulla tells his listeners many stories which seem different but are interconnected because the same set of characters are present in each of the stories and apart from the social conditions affecting the characters of these stories there are love affairs which permeate from one story to other in an endless-shocking-melodramatic fashion. Mulla is not only the raconteur but also the hero of all of the stories and the witness perspective of all of the stories. There is at least one scene in each of the stories which connects to another scene in the previous story and in the last story the dark side of Mulla is revealed. In the end of the movie Mulla has to cope with what he had done. In spite of characterization of the father of the lover boy in first story as a womanizer, it’s Mulla himself who is the most flirtatious character of all. In every story he is playing an escapist coward who flirts until in trouble.The movie has so many twists and turns coming in a most peculiar fashion with the involvement of raconteur in almost all of them. The soundtrack is also very touching.
This movie is a masterpiece by Shyam Benegal because of his sensible direction and unique style of storytelling. The movie underscores the importance of great literature. The original story written by Dharmveer Bharati was a metafiction experiment in 1952.The movie is about Indian social structure and love-affairs getting affected because of lovers like Devdas (You cannot fail to observe mention of Devdas in more than one stories). It was an audacious story by the standards of Indian society of the decade in which it was created. I feel that nobody could have done justice with the role of Mulla more than Rajit Kapur and I think this movie is one of the greatest movies ever made in Indian cinema despite not being one of the most popular.
Towards the climax the movie starts becoming heavier and more sentimental and even overwhelming. It’s not difficult to observe that best performances were reserved by the director of this movie for last critical portion of this story. Amrish Puri and Neena Gupta undeniably leave their marks on the movie.