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Reviewer's Summary - Average
Actors: Urmila Matondkar, Ashmit Patel, Raj Babbar, Dimple Kapadia, Naseeruddin Shah
Director: Pankuj Parashar
Producer: Swati Singh, Manorama Singh
Music: Himmesh Reshammiya
Screenplay: L.C.Singh, Javed Siddiqui
Dialogs: Javed Siddiqui
Mercifully, Banaras is different from the usual Bollywood trash but still left us a little disappointed.
Set in the ancient North Indian holy city of Banaras, the movie centers around the character of a young girl Shwetambari (Urmila Matondkar) who falls in love with a low caste boy Soham (Ashmit Patel).
An abandoned child who had been raised by a low caste sweeper woman, the spiritually-inclined Soham turns out to be a fine classical singer and is appointed as a music teacher in the Banaras Hindu University.
Shwetambari's relationship with Soham arouses intense opposition from her rich, upper caste parents Mahendranath (Raj Babbar) and Gayatri (Dimple Kapadia) as well as some other citizens in the city.
However, the parents seem to acquiesce to the relationship and even participate in a grand engagement ceremony.
But the stars are not aligned right for the young pair as Soham is murdered soon after the engagement.
A distraught Shwetambari is inconsolable. Even foreign-trained psychiatrists cannot help to bring her out of her grief.
After accidentally overhearing that even after the engagement her father was behind the scene pressurizing Soham to end the relationship, Shwetambari forsakes her parents and the city she dearly loves. She travels around the world and becomes a renowned spiritual figure.
Years pass and her father, now on his deathbed, wishes to see her before he breathes his last. Word is sent to Shwetambari about her father's ill health. She comes home and the audience then learns of the shocking truth of Soham's murder.
The movie falls short in several ways. While offbeat, the story is not richly layered. It tends to the superficial in not adequately exploring the caste compulsions or the unique draw of Banaras for millions of Hindus.
Urmila Matondkar tends to overact but Ashmit Patel renders a fine job in what is essentially a heroine-dominated film. Naseeruddin Shah as the saint Baba gives no cause for complaint.
The songs are alright but unlikely to have a lingering impact.
In his previous avatar, L.C.Singh, the writer and a driving force behind this movie was an information technology executive. - Copyright SearchIndia.com.