This notorious rape movie followed in the wake of growing feminist activism in India in the 70s after the Mathura and Maya Tyagi rape cases, the amendment to the Rape Law and the impact of e.g. the Forum Against Rape which offered legal assistance to rape victims. The film has been analysed by Susie Tharu in her essay ‘On Subverting a Rhetoric: Media Versions of Rape’ (in Olympus, 9 August 1981). The pre-credit sequence shows a rape in shadow play. The story then shows the advertising model Bharati (Aman) being raped by the millionaire Ramesh (Babbar). When he is arrested, Bharati is unable to get a conviction in court. Bharati and her sister Nita (Kolhapure) move to another city where Nita, answering a job advertisement, is also raped by Ramesh. Bharati shoots Ramesh dead and once again faces the legal process, presided over by the same judge and prosecuted by the lawyer who had earlier defended Ramesh. The argument gets bogged down in legal technicalities until it is emotionally resolved with a passionate outburst from Nita. The three rape sequences shown in the film, staged with voyeuristic relish, no doubt contributed to its commercial success. Bapu remade the film in Telugu as Edi Nyayam Edi Dharmam (1982).
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Being the first Hindi film to deal with the social issue of rape, the movie was a milestone in Indian cinema. However, a debate raged as to whether the graphic depiction of rape was actually thought provoking or merely titillation. Read More