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aka Bonded until Death 1984 141’(125’) col Hindi d/p/sc Prakash Jha pc Prakash Jha Prod. dial/st Shaiwal based on his story Kaabutra c Rajan Kothari m Raghunath Seth lp Manohar Singh, Sreela Majumdar, Annu Kapoor, Deepti Naval, Pyare Mohan Sadhay, Braj Kishore, Gopal Sharan, Om Prakash

Melodrama set in Bihar addressing poverty, rural exploitation and the politics of Untouchability. Madho (Manohar Singh), the village head, uses the conventional system of bonded labour (i.e. labourers have to sign a paper assuming the debts of their ancestors) to subjugate the Harijan labourer Sanjeevan (Kapoor). Madho also runs an extortion racket based on stealing cattle and then requiring the owners to buy them back. Sanjeevan’s story is intercut with Madho’s multifarious misdeeds and the equally nefarious doings of Madho’s rival, the politician Bachcha Singh. Madho’s younger brother heads the gang of thugs who enforce the headman’s will, including rigging the elections, raping and killing the widow Mahatmeen when she threatens to expose him in court, framing Sanjeevan for the crime, etc. In the end, Sanjeevan’s wife Rajuli kills Madho. Jha’s 2nd film uses a continuously circling camera, converting the melodrama into a frontier tale of crime, sex and revenge, with colourful clothes and exotic accents.