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CHANDNI BAR

India, 2001 (MIFF 2003, Beyond Bollywood)

Director: Madhur Bhandarkar

Chandni Bar launches scathing attacks on an outmoded caste system, police corruption, vice and the appalling conditions endured by the marginalized in one of the world's most populated but poor cities.

Fleeing her hometown, left in flames after religious conflict, Mumtaz winds up in Mumbai with her drunken, lecherous uncle. Within days she is forced to work in a bar where women combine traditional Indian dance with the more overtly seductive moves of western strip clubs. Mumtaz's descent into the underworld continues when she marries a psychopathic, small-time hood. Facing violent thugs, hounded by the police, deserted by all but her fellow dancers, Mumtaz struggles to keep her life, family and morals intact. A wonderfully photographed and dramatically told epic tragedy of a lone woman's struggle.

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