Aakrosh (1980 film)

Aakrosh (transl. Anger) is a 1980 Hindi arthouse film directed by Govind Nihalani and written by Marathi playwright Vijay Tendulkar.[1] The film stars Naseeruddin Shah, Om Puri and Amrish Puri in lead roles and went on to win 1980 National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Hindi and several Filmfare Awards.

Directed byGovind Nihalani
Produced byDevi Dutt
Written byVijay Tendulkar
StarringNaseeruddin Shah
Smita Patil
Amrish Puri
Om Puri
Music byAjit Varman
CinematographyGovind Nihalani
Edited byKeshav Naidu
Distributed byKrsna Movies Enterprise
Release date
  • 1980 (1980)
Running time
144 minutes
Budget0.80 crore (equivalent to 15 crore or US$2.1 million in 2019)
Box office1.22 crore (equivalent to 23 crore or US$3.2 million in 2019)

It won the 'Golden Peacock' for the Best Film at the International Film Festival of India.[2]

This was a debut film of Nihalani, who went on to be known for his dark and frighteningly real depictions of human angst in other landmark alternative movies such as Ardh Satya and Tamas.[3]

It is in the list of 60 films that shaped the Indian film industry spanning six decades.[4]


Allegedly based on a true incident reported on page 7 of a local newspaper, the film was a scathing satire on the corruption in the judicial system and the victimization of the underprivileged by the able and the powerful.[5]

Aakrosh forms a part of the series of works, based around explorations in violence, written by noted playwright Vijay Tendulkar, who had earlier written Shyam Benegal's Nishant (1974) and went on to write Govind Nihalani's next surprise breakaway hit, Ardh Satya (1983).

Here the victim is shown so traumatized by excessive oppression and violation of his humanity, that he does not utter a single word almost for the length of the film and only bears a stunned look,[6] though later he uses the same violence as a tool to express his own sense of violation and rage.[7]

Basically, the story is of a peasant who is oppressed by landowners and his foremen while trying to eke out a living as a daily laborer. His comely wife, played by Smita Patil, is raped by the foreman who then has him arrested to hide his own crime. His wife commits suicide out of shame.

Soon after his father's death, the police bring him to the funeral grounds in manacles and shackles to complete the last rites of his dead father. Standing beside the burning funeral pyre, he sees the foreman looking at his pre-pubescent sister with lustful eyes. Divining the fate that is in store for her, he grabs an axe and chops off his sister's head to forestall her dire future as a perpetual victim, as he sees it. Upon completion of this hapless act of a desperate and downtrodden man, he raises his face towards the skies and screams, and screams and screams – the second time that we hear his voice in the movie (the first is in a flashback, as he vainly attempts to rescue his wife) — a device similar to Andrei Tarkovsky's showing of the icons in brilliant color at the end of his three-hour black-and-white film Andrei Rublev.


Similarity with YagnamEdit

The aggressive act of Lahanya Biku mirrors the climax of Telugu short story "Yagnam" by Kalipatnam Ramarao.[citation needed] Appalanaidu, a character in Yagnam, cuts the throat of his child with an axe after the verdict delivered by village heads comes against him. In view of the future sorrow of his heirs, now that he will not be there to protect them or provide for them, Appalanaidu commits this act.[citation needed]


  1. "Kanha Re" - Vandana Khandekar - 7.33, Music : Ajit Varman, Lyrics : Vasant Deo
  2. "Sanson Mein Dard" - Madhuri Purandare - 5.44, Music : Ajit Varman, Lyrics : Suryabhanu Gupta
  3. "Tu Aisa Kaisa Mard" - Madhuri Purandare - 3.10, Music : Ajit Varman, Lyrics : Vasant Deo


Year Award Category Nominee(s) Result
1980 National Film Awards Best Feature Film in Hindi Devi Dutt and Govind Nihalani Won
1981 Filmfare Awards [8] Best Film Devi Dutt Nominated
Best Director Govind Nihalani Won
Best Actor Naseeruddin Shah
Best Supporting Actor Om Puri
Best Story Vijay Tendulkar
Best Screenplay
Best Art Direction C.S. Bhatti


  1. ^ Kumar, Anuj (10 April 2014). "Blast from the past - Aakrosh (1980)". The Hindu.
  2. ^ "NFDC films". Archived from the original on 19 October 2009.
  3. ^ "Govind Nihalani profile". Jang.com.pk. 14 December 2007. Archived from the original on 14 December 2007.
  4. ^ Ganguly, Prithwish (10 August 2007). "Six decades of dynamic filmmaking in India". Hindustan Times. IANS. Archived from the original on 5 June 2011.
  5. ^ "a study of Aakrosh at filmreference". Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 9 December 2007.
  6. ^ "Om Puri at freshnews". Fresh News. 20 October 2007. Archived from the original on 20 October 2007.
  7. ^ "Ashish Nandy on Violence in Vijay Tendulkar's works". Hindu. Archived from the original on 5 April 2008. Retrieved 10 December 2007.
  8. ^ "Filmfare Awards 1981 - Aakrosh (1980) Awards". IMDb.

External linksEdit