So why did I give 'Trimurti' 8 stars? In my view I've never seen the philosophy of Dharma better represented in an Indian film as in 'Trimurti. Guide (1965) included. But this philosophical background and the fairy tale structure is probably something that repels young males who are the majority of voters here at IMDb.
For me 'Trimurti (1995) is a modern fairy tale far better than the sugar-coated fairy tale 'Paheli (2005. It has the power, drama, and philosophical background of an old folk tale.
Fairy tale structure: 1) battle between good and evil (policewoman Satyadevi and gangster Kooka) 2) both adversaries see Satyadevi's three sons as the force of God which is symbolised in three faces (Trimurti. Brahma as creator "Earth - Shakti" Vishnu as preserver "Water - Romi" Shiva as destroyer "Fire, here also Air - Anand. 3) the life in virtuous poverty (the earnest simple Shakti) 4) the choice of the wrong way to wealth and esteem (the elegant leader of the pack Anand/Sikander) 5) the temptation of a young man by demonic adversaries, who seduce him to leave the thorny path of virtue, because he wants to win his love which reminds me of the pact between Faust and the devil Mephistopheles (the careless happy-go-lucky Romi) and 6) the acquittal (honour your mother, live virtuous, battle against the evil, try to draw near God in Its different representations, here Durga) that manages in the end to conquer the demons.
The philosophy of Dharma in folk tale style: The deviation from the way of Dharma leads into destruction. If you are doing evil because you lust for evil you are reborn as a demon (Kooka. If you are doing evil because you want love or riches you are sliding downwards (Sikander and Romi. Only if you keep to the way of Dharma and attach yourself to God (here in the representation of Durga. even if this is a path without any public honour - you will garner good Karma (mother Satyadevi and eldest son Shakti) so that you can eventually reach Moksha.
And additionally to the very satisfying story line the film is well made: good production values, well looking settings (over the top support base for the villain Kooka, beautiful landscapes, real seeming but typified village scenes, the prison as a metaphor. The cinematography by Ashok Mehta is good, serene, and bounteous. The music by the duo Laxmikant-Pyarelal is well made and the choreographies by Saroj Khan appealing.
The characters are very well personified by the actors. In my view the casting is superb for the main characters. The demonic Kooka is played brilliantly in comic-style over-the-top by Mohan Agashe. The honourable police woman Satyadevi is very well personified by Priya Tendulkar. Jackie Shroff works well in his usual restrained and benevolent acting style as oldest brother Shakti, Anil Kapoor gives one of his best performances as the doubting 28 year old second brother Anand, and the 30 year old Shah Rukh Khan portrays the happy-go-lucky 17 year old youngster Romi very convincingly with verve, for me one of his best over-the-top performances. Mukul Anand seems to me to be a very good director.
All in all, a film to be savoured again and again.
People who like 'Koyla. Zamaana Deewana. English Babu Desi Mem' or 'Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman' should be able to like also 'Trimurti. People who prefer films like 'Don. Dhoom. Rang de Basanti. Dil Chahta Hai. Veer Zaara. Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gam. KANK. No Entry' or 'Dil to Pagal Hai' will probably have problems to feel attracted by this film.
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