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AGHAAT

India, 1986 (MIFF 1987)

Director: Govind Nihalani

At the Shwalik engineering factory, two rival trade union factions are competing for recognition. One is a Communist Party figure and established leader of the majority of the workforce. He is a pragmatist whose position is reinforced by his adherence to principles and his legitimate concern for the workers. His control is under attack from a politically ambitious rival who uses violent intimidation to try to achieve success.

A battle for compensation for an injured worker causes the militarism and violence of one faction to be pitted against the humanism of a more ideological standpoint.

Nihilam is one of the new filmmakers whose work explores contemporary issues, backed by government funding and made in Hindi for wider distribution in India. Aghaat explores the issue of trade union militarism in epic Wajda style. While lacking the finesse of Wajda, it is nevertheless an admirable attempt in its scope and vision to present a complex theme succinctly.

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