indian cinema heritage foundation

Khandhar (1984)

  • LanguageHindi
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Memory and fantasy build a strange world-sad, mellow and distantly startling. The world thus built leads the characters to inevitability where hidden an apparent betrayal, throbs an interior fidelity.
Three friends take a couple of days off and run away from the mad hurry of the city-life to enjoy themselves in the silence of the ruins which once was a huge mansion of a feudal family. In the midst of desolation lives a family of two, a mother and a daughter, heirs to a portion of the ancestral ruins. The mother is sick, paralysed and blind surviving on a treasured hope that a distance nephew of hers will one day come and as promised, will marry the daughter. But the fact is otherwise: the youngman who promised is now with his wife and a kid living perhaps, a settled life in the city. The daughter knows the truth but keeps it to herself for the simple reason that the mother, if the truth is revealed to her, will not survive the shock.
One of the three friends is a professional photographer, another the first cousin of the girl and so that owner of a small portion of the ruins and the third is just an enjoyable company. It is the cousin who leads the team to what he describes as 'the photographer's paradise'.
Two days and a half are enough to build a cruel story when, having been thrown into a peculiar situation, the three friends and the daughter are forced to go through a nerve-breaking exercise, acting a dreadful play and giving the ailing and blind mother the impression that the photographer is the man who once promised to come and marry the daughter. 
While, now, the mother resigns herself to the cherished dream, the daughter suffers acutely from cold cynicism and yet, at times escapes into wild fantasy. The gay abandon disappears from the team of three and the one who feels deeply touched and disturbed is the photographer.
After two days and a half the three friends prepare to leave the ruins and go back to the city. Just before they leave, the photographer from the city and the daughter amidst the ruins have a short meeting which excites a brief dialogue and a mute understanding. And that is all. Soon after the photographer is back at his post in his studios and the daughter is left to terrifying loneliness and to her mother who now will know the whole truth.
And life goes on. What remains for the photographer is the ruins to remember and, perhaps, to forget.
 

(From the official press booklets)