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Ardh review: Amateurish, old-fashioned take on the struggles of an ordinary man in the big city

Release Date: 10 Jun 2022

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Sonal Pandya

Palaash Muchhal’s directorial debut, which stars Rajpal Yadav as a struggling actor, is a complete misfire.

Palaash Muchhal’s Ardh (2022) features Rajpal Yadav as a struggling actor trying to get by in Mumbai while hoping to make it big one day. The music composer’s directorial debut is outdated and fails to connect on an emotional level.

Narrated by Jackie Shroff, Ardh paints Yadav’s Shiva as a man whose life will come together once he gets that role which will bring both fame and fortune. Shiva, who comes from a theatre background, moonlights as Parvati with eunuchs at a busy traffic signal, hiding the fact that he is a man.

Shiva has a family to support; his wife Madhu (Rubina Dilaik in her film debut) and his young son Chintu (Swastik Tiwari) are waiting for him at home. The funds are never enough, but Shiva continues to go on auditions and slog it out, waiting for his big break.

His neighbour Satya (Hiten Tejwani), who was an actor like him, had abandoned his dreams and taken up a normal job. But Shiva stills persists. The 37-year-old family man faces constant rejection as an actor and is often told he doesn't have what it takes because of his height and looks.

The feature, which is also written by Mucchal, drags out his struggles, putting obstacle after obstacle in Shiva’s way. Yadav musters though in the lead role, but the story continues to get both silly and unbelievable as the film progresses.

Mucchal, in trying to highlight the harsh realities of Mumbai’s many dreamers who want to be famous, harps on the same few issues over again, never being practical about it. Shiva and Madhu’s money woes are endless and no matter what they do, it’s never enough.

The couple are comfortable in their relationship as Shiva goes cross-dressing to earn money. But they are extremely impractical in their approach to their future. Madhu continues to tell him to pursue auditions to be an actor, despite the continued strain on their finances.

Ardh also comes off as amateurish in all aspects – from the acting to technical departments. It feels as it’s been put together by students, not professionals working in the industry. The music, also composed by Mucchal, fares better. However, it is tacked on with no thought about how to move the narrative forward.

The film has been dedicated to the late artistes Sushant Singh Rajput and Irrfan Khan to honour those from outside the industry who made it big. But by placing in a world that seems around 10-15 years in the past, it even fails to get that aspect right. Ardh is a misfire on all counts.

Ardh is now streaming on Zee5.


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