The film was released on 17 March 1987
N. Chandra’s one of the three major hits in a row “Pratighaat” was released on this day 34 -year ago in 1987.The film, featuring Sujata Mehta,Nana Patekar ,Charan Raj,Rohini Hattangadi,Mohan Bhandari & Ashok Saraf, eas produced by Ramoji Rao with a too moderate budget sans big names. Surprisingly and interestingly, too, it did wonders on the box office rubbing ahoulders with the likes of star studded hits like ” Hukumat”,” Nazrana”, ” Aag Hi Aag”,” Insaaf” & ” Mr India” both content & performancewise. Thanks to a meaty nay phenominally too bold & excellent performance by the film heroine Sujata Mehta whom the audiences earlier knew as a TV actress.
Sujata Mehta needs no introduction.Sujata got recognition with TV serial ” Khandaan” and later” Srikant”.The “Srikant” role got Sujata an opportunity to be a part of J.P.Dutta’s “Yateem”.He was on the lookout for a suitable girl.Initially,he was lukewarm in signing her but when she produced a couple of photographs of her,the filmmaker rubbed his eys for a moment to mke sure that what he was seeing was truly Sujata’s picturs.It was because he had seen her earlier in a totally different -rather quaint dress,which instead of accentuating her anatomical charms and looks tended to detract from her poise and sex appeal.Totally,satisfied ,the moviemaker had Sujata sign on the dotted lines then and there.The film featured Sunny Deol,Farha Naaz , Kulbhushan Kharbanda and Danny.In “Yateem”( 1988) she plays a lusty lady who yearns for young men,especilly her step son Krishna played by Sunny Deol.The film was highly acclaimed & won her Filmfare best Supporting Actress nomination for her steller performance & catapulted her to a star status.
What actually did the trick was N.Chandra’s “Pratighaat” Needless to say that the film was a super hit and also the highest grossing film considering its low budget and sans big names.The highlight of the film was its script and penetrating dialogues.Each word is pregnant with sense and significance.A young,married teacheress by profession,Sujata witnesses discri and excess heaped uon the ” Weakr Se” at every step of their lifeIt also mirrors the depth of degradation and corruption-social,political and moral.to which contmporary sociey & politics have descended, in most realistic and convincing way.The influence of politics on the youth ,especially the students,has been very realistically delineated.In a film’s scene when Sujata enters the class room,she has a look at the black board.She is shockd to numbness by the sight-there were pictures of nude girls and women in a variety of postures She musters all the courage she could to lambast the authors of those vulgar pictures for their misadventure in a language and tone sharp and strident enough to put even a scorpion to shame.The delinquents react with equal nervous numbness.The ” piece de resistance” of the film is the closing scene in which she presents herself at the function organised by the supporters of the victorious MLA (whom she had opposed unsuccessfully in the election fray).She moves forward to garland the triumphant rival and offer him a ‘farsa'( his election symbol) but taking dvantage of the politician’s unwariness kills him with the lethal implement on the spot.
In an interview with this writer the actress had declared that she would attract audiences and roles by her acting potential and not by getting drenched or slipping into skimpy costumes.But movie makers have ways of forcing ,cajoling or persuading girls to display their feminine charms.One of these indeed is the ‘umbrella excuse” of a particular scene demanding stripping or peeling. In”Pratighaat”,the ploy used was humiliation of the heroine by stripping or ripping off her clothes in public. It was a remake of the Telugu film “Pratighatana” (1986) & also became part of the hat-trick by N. Chandra as director: “Ankush” (1986), and “Tezaab” (1988) being the other two hits.Sujata Mehta is known for her three films- “Pratighaat”,’Yateem” and “Gunaah”. “Ye Meri Life hai”( 2004-5) & ” Kya Hoga Nimmo Ka”( 2006) were her famous serials .
Her other films includes the likes of “Rishta Ho To Aisa”,” Dhartiputra” & ” Aaj Kie Aurat” directed by Avtar Bogal.She has been a name to reckon with in Gujrat her home State. Remained active until recently.
From Top Clockwise: With CM Vijay Rupani at Gandhi Nagar, film’s poster, with this writer after shooting, at a function & during Durgotsav at Lokhandwala,Mumbai.
Anti Clcokwise from Top Right: With CM Gujrat Vijay Rupani & Latesh Shah, at Lokhandwala Durgotsav, giving stage performance, with this writer & Sujata Then & Now.