In today’s times, any film criticising the law and order will have to face a rigorous road before it gets released. That’s why,many filmmakers are opting for OTT(Over the Top) platforms like Netflix or Amazon Prime for more independence. Hardly we have few filmmakers like Govind Nilhani, whose every film is a deep reflection of the society.He presents his outlook visually with great theatre actors like Om puri, Nasserudin shah, Smita Patil and Amrish Puri as protagonists in his films.
Aakrosh(1980), his first film as director brings the court trials and tribal stories into limelight. The exploitation of people and systems by the higher authorities is well established in the film. The performance by the brilliant actors Om puri, Naseerudin Shah and Smita patil have added to the realities already long forgotten. The screenplay was written by Vijay Tendulkar and dialogue by Satyadev Dubey with a timeless quality. While the film haunts the lawyer till the end to get into the details. We all get the hint behind the attack and why no proof will never be produced in the court. This exposes the loopholes in the judicial system too and the uncertainty of life of those who want to bring a change.
Ardh satya(1983), is another hard-hitting story of a policeman(Om Puri) finding himself handcuffed whenever he decides to catch the real breakers of the law. He is punished for taking actions against those culprits resulting in his suspension. He is fighting hard against those oppressors but again fails and is always reminded about the condition of the suspended police officer Mike lobo(Naseerudin Shah) who has now turned into an alcoholic.
Tamas(1988) is a period film based on Bhisham Sahni‘s story with the same name on partition. The longest films provided the uncomfortable truths of the partition.The movie revolves around the Om puri. The movie couldn’t be made without the support of the artists, writers and other activists Govind Nilhani received. The film was also screened into a eight episode long series on Doordarshan.
His next film, Party showcases a satire on the Mumbai based society with its activists, writers and their realities. The discussion happens on the protagonist in absentia, Amrit who has turned into a political activist in tribal areas. Some praise his poetry, some quotes his lines and some criticise his political approach. The film gives a platform to debate whether a writer can write without undermining the political stands he holds. Will it not be reflected in his work. Is poetry just art or is it a weapon to break down the status quo? Like Amrit did.
Govind Nilhani has won many awards and international recognition due to his work. He has also served as a cinematographer in his early days with Shyam Benegal in films like Manthan, Ankur, Nishant, Bhumika and Junoon which has won him National films award for best cinematography.He is the brilliant director,cinematographer and writer who has crossed the boundaries and led a revolution through his films.