Ardh Satya (1983)

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Ardh Satya (Half Truth) is a 1982 film directed by Govind Nihalani, his second offering after another angst ridden movie Aakrosh (1980).Both the movies had screenplay by Vijay Tendulkar, the noted Marathi playwright, this one was based on a short story ‘Surya’ by D.A. Panvalkar.In this acclaimed cop-drama, the protagonist, played by Om Puri, is a policeman struggling both with the evils around him and with his own frailties.Ardh Satya, not only won many awards, but also went on to become a landmark film, in Indian film history.

Cast: Om Puri, Smita Patil, Amrish Puri

A police drama is a rare film for 1980s Indian cinema, and a successful police drama with a bit of a moral is even rarer which makes this film by Govind Nihalani an unusual item. Anant Welankar (Om Puri) is an ethically strait-laced Bombay police officer who reluctantly joined the force at his father’s instigation – his father had been a career policeman. Once working in the precinct, Anant learns about bribery — it seems that Rama Shetty (Sadashiv Amrapurkar), a well-known political aspirant known to be involved in a murder, has several of the police officers in his back pocket.

Anant finds himself caught between the police violence and bribery on the one hand, and his desire to fulfill his duties to the letter on the other. In one unhappy moment, he is carried away by his fury against immorality during an interrogation and beats a prisoner so badly that the man dies. Stricken and yet unwilling to simply accept his suspension, Anant has to either hew to his own conscience and face the consequences, or ask for help from the notorious Rama Shetty — a difficult decision when one’s future hangs in the balance.

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