AnkurThe Seeding (1974)

Ankur is the Shyam Benegal debut movie, produced by Lalit M. Bijlani Freni Variava under Blaze Film Enterprises, written by Shyam Benegal and Satyadev Dubey, the cinematography was done by Govind Nihalani and Kamath Ghanekar. It Stars Shabana Azmi, Ananth Nag, Sadhu Meher, Priya Tendulkar, Kader Ali Beg and Dalip Tahil

The film was a commercial and critical success at the box office, made on a total budget of just five lakhs rupees, and went to make one crore with its release.

There were no songs in the movie but it includes several scenes in which villagers sing folk songs, mostly in Telugu.

Initially Shyam Benegal approach the Laxmi role to Waheeda Rehman, Anju Mahendru, and Sharada all of them refused the offer, later it went the Shabana Azmi who was fresher at that time.

The film won three National Awards for Best Feature Film to Shyam Benegal, Best Actor to Sadhu Meher, and Best Actress to Shabana Azmi, and is also nominated for the Golden Bear at the 24th Berlin International Film Festival.

The Story takes place in rural Andhra Pradesh where Surya(Ananth Negi) become the landlord of his father fields, he got married to a young girl Saroj whose still a kid and stays back at her home till she comes of age, Surya’s father wants him to be financially sound and socially secure, meanwhile, the story moved to Lakshmi (Shabana Azmi) a young and serious village woman who works as a housemaid in the landlord’s house and who is married to a deaf-mute man Kishtaya who keeps drinking. One day Kishtaya, leaves the village without informing anyone, and his wife, Lakshmi is left alone, with Surya. Surya, being sexually frustrated, makes advances to her. Things turn worse when she gets pregnant with his baby and Surya’s wife comes to the village to stay with him. Surya refuses to accept the child A pregnant Lakshmi finds herself all alone struggling for survival, until one day her husband returns with a clear intention to make amends, very happy to find his wife’s state but little knowing that he is not her child’s father

Performance-wise Shabana Azmi who owns the show from start to finish, the acting in the movie is roundly natural. Sadhu Meher is excellent as Lakshmi’s helpless and loving husband Anant Nag as Surya does a very good job. Priya Tendulkar too performs well.