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1,223 Ratings


The Seedling

Directed by Shyam Benegal
India, 1974


In Shyam Benegal’s stunning first narrative feature, the ne’er-do-well son of an absentee landlord is dispatched to oversee his father’s land, whereupon he takes as his mistress the poor housekeeper Lakshmi, igniting a series of devastating complications.

Our take

Set amidst a complex mesh of feudal power structures and gender oppression, Shyam Benegal’s directorial debut Ankur is a powerful film about the caste system and agency of women. This film also marks the debut of the powerhouse actress of Indian parallel cinema, Shabana Azmi.

Ankur Directed by Shyam Benegal

Critics reviews

Benegal’s masterful screenplay is brilliantly layered as it looks at Surya’s power from the intersections of patriarchy, caste, and class.
April 27, 2020
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It is a relatively simple love story, but it is exquisitely told. Benegal is meticulous with his compositions and color scheme, a film of fiery reds sectioned off into the latticework of windows and doorways – passion siphoned off into a grid.
September 14, 2018
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What are people saying?

  • dionysus67's rating of the film Ankur

    A beautifully shot drama on India's rigid caste system and the double injustices suffered by women. Benegal captures the farm in subtly modest color compositions, balancing Azmi's gorgeous face and posture, as she is filmed through doors and windows, with long shots of the green fields. Rituals like public shaming are movingly rebuked and the narcissistic, seemingly educated, landlord's son is superbly 'castrated'.

  • josé neves's rating of the film Ankur

    The magnificent final frame exemplifies what the film lacks: rupture, impact, explosion. Everything is filmed in a well composed way that fiction doesn't ask for or justify. Plot points pass at cruising speed.

  • 張大智's rating of the film Ankur

    A feast of gorgeous pastel colors, compositions and screaming sitars make this ideally paced, touching film an undisputed masterpiece. The kind of movie that makes you fall in love with something new and wets your appetite for cinema. Can not wait to see more Benegal, and anything available from India's golden age. Nothing but love for this beauty. Highly recommended.

  • FISCHER's rating of the film Ankur

    On est fort éloigné de l'habituel déferlement bigarré et vibrant de danses et de chansons si fréquent dans les productions cinématographiques indiennes de l'époque, pour se retrouver dans une constante et diffuse remise en question des structures même de la société hindoue avec ses pesantes coutumes héréditaires et patriarcales drainant injustice et asservissement, pour une poignée de nantis millénaires...

  • Tvpiniqvim's rating of the film Ankur

    Ser tocado por um filme desse jeito é uma coisa rara nesses tempos de filmes block busters. A fotografia lindíssima, a atuação memorável. E a beleza desse rosto captado de forma tão singela pode distrair sem dúvida dos temas profundos que o filme aborda: a estupidez e soberba das classes ricas, o machismo tão enraizado que ninguém mais questiona. Aqui no Brasil não temos castas porém as diferenças sociais são as mesm

  • Krish sanghvi's rating of the film Ankur

    When the Indian upper caste, with their feudalist, capitalist, selfish, pseudo-liberal, hypocritical, bourgeois lifestyle have to deal with people whom they’ve until now been oblivious towards and never cared about. On guilt and “what will people think”. Caste, masculinity, and patriarchy are so ingrained in Indian culture. An excellent, powerful ending. Strong acting by Shabana Azmi.

  • Jan's rating of the film Ankur

    A great film about how India's caste system comes to be reproduced even by those who claim they "don't believe in caste." Shabana Azmi is luminous on screen, and Benegal knows how to make use of it. The finale, especially Azmi's monologue, is powerful and cathartic.

  • Andre Balestri's rating of the film Ankur

    The one who's supposed to be more open and not attached to wrong habits still belongs to a social cast. Guilt and "shame culture" are explosive, especially when you have the power.

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