Kunku (1937)

 ●  Marathi ● 2 hrs 43 mins

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Neera [M] / Nirmala [H] (Apte) is trapped into marrying the old widower Kakasaheb (Date). He is a progressive lawyer with a son and a daughter of Neera's age. She refuses to consummate the union, claiming repeatedly that while suffering can be borne, injustice cannot. After facing many hurdles including an aunt (Vashisht), her mother-in-law, and a lascivious stepson Pandit [M] / Jugal [H] (Nene), her husband has a change of heart and magnanimously commits suicide, enjoining Neera to marry someone more suitable. The change occurs mainly through his widowed daughter Chitra [M] / Sushila [H] (Paranjpye, a noted social worker off screen) who provides a forcefully feminist moment in a speech to the young bride. Apte sings the combative song <i>In the world's broad field of battle... Be not like dumb, driven cattle</i> written by Longfellow. The original novel was a landmark in Maharashtra's social reform movement denouncing arranged and venal marriages that ignore women's rights. Shantaram's version stresses melodramatic overtones while indulging in some bravura visual stylisations, eg. in the editing (he edited his own films) of the brief marriage sequence or the shattered mirror scene returning multiple laughing faces to the distraught old man gazing into the mirror, the leitmotif of the ticking clock, etc., many of these stylised images referring obliquely to the old man's sexual impotence. Apte's performance in her first leading role displays a modern freshness ahead of its time which established her as India's foremost singing star of the 30s. The veterans Fattelal and Damle did the art direction and the sound respectively. The Hindi title translates literally as 'The world will not accept...' while the Marathi title refers to the vermilion mark adorning the forehead of a married woman.

Cast: Shanta Apte

Crew: Rajaram Vankudre Shantaram (Director), V Avadhoot (Director of Photography)

Genres: Drama

Release Dates: 01 Jan 1937 (India)

Marathi Name: कुंकू

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as Nirmala
as Kakasaheb
as Jugat
as Aunt



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Director of Photography
Film Type:
Colour Info:
Black & White
Frame Rate:
24 fps
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