|Directed by||Ketan Mehta|
|Written by||Ketan Mehta|
|Music by||Gaurang Vyas|
Bhavni Bhavai (Tale of the Life in English) is a 1980 Gujarati film directed by Ketan Mehta. Mehta's debut film is a successful adaptation of folk idioms into cinema. The film is dedicated to Bertolt Brecht, Goscinny and to the inventor of the Bhavai, Asait Thakore, who was a Brahmin outcast and lived among the lower caste communities. His descendants, the Targalas, are the traditional Gujarati performers of the plays he wrote. The Bhavai evolved into one of India's most energetic folk music and dance-dramas. The film is in the form of a story told by a group of Harijans migrating to a city pausing for a night. Documentary footage of India's freedom struggle as well as references to contemporary violent caste riots in Ahmedabad and severe drought in North Gujarat is employed in the film.
The plot involves a king who wants his vav (stepwell) to be filled with water. To get the water, a batrish lakshano (person with 32 qualities) needs to be sacrificed. Unfortunately, that kind of person is among the Mahyavanshi. The Mahyavanshi put up a resistance to give the child up, but then they have to give up the child for the sacrifice.
The film won critical acclaim when released, though more for its format than the story.
- Naseeruddin Shah as Maharaja Dhiraj Chandrasen
- Smita Patil as Ujaan
- Mohan Gokhale as Raj Kumar/Jeevla
- Om Puri as Maanava Bhagat
- Dina Pathak as Bhagat's wife
- Benjamin Gilani as Prime Minister
- Suhasini Mulay
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