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aka The Ascending Scale aka The Ascent 1982 147’ col Hindi d Shyam Benegal pc West Bengal Govt sc Shama Zaidi dial/lyr Niaz Haider c Govind Nihalani m Purnadas Baul lp Om Puri, Sreela Majumdar, Victor Bannerjee, Rajen Tarafdar, Geeta Sen, Pankaj Kapoor, Khoka Mukherjee

The small farmer Hari Mondal (Puri) supports an extended family working on his little plot of land. When he tries to obtain a loan from his absentee landlord living in Calcutta, Mondal finds himself ensnared in a lengthy legal battle, lasting from 1967 to 1977, to preserve his political rights as a sharecropper. In the process, his family is destroyed. One of the better known of several films produced by the communist government of West Bengal to portray through fiction their political programmes: in this case, Operation Barga, a successful campaign of land for landless tillers. Benegal starts the film with Om Puri introducing himself, the cameraman, scenarist and other crew members who are to enact the performance to follow. The rest of the film, however, once it starts, attempts no further alienation devices except perhaps a spectacular and stagey scene of lightning and floods.