Director: Palash Muchhal
Cast: Rajpal Yadav, Rubina Dilaik, Hiten Tejwani, Kulbhushan Kharbanda
Streaming platform: Zee5
Many movie enthusiasts flock to Mumbai with the same ambition: to become actors. It's no surprise that it's known as the ‘City of Dreams’. However, not everyone gets their wishes fulfilled. Despite this, they remain relentless in their pursuit of their ambition to appear on the big screen.
Ardh also follows the story of a man named Shiva, played by Rajpal Yadav, who moved to Mumbai to pursue his dream of being an actor. Rubina Dilaik, who plays Madhu, Shiva's wife, makes her Bollywood debut in the film. Speaking of the film, Shiva is a stage actor who has been trying to get into the film industry but has had to settle for little, blink-and-you-miss-it jobs.
He and his wife, Madhu (Rubina), and his son live in Mumbai. Shiva turns to Parvati, a transgender woman, to seek charity at the traffic signal in order to make ends meet. In the interim, he frequently vanishes to attend auditions, where he is repeatedly rejected as "not fit." And Ardh depicts Shiva working hard to realise his ambitions - to land that one breakthrough part that could transform his life forever.
Shiva works odd jobs to support his family, such as working at a grocery store, doing hard labour at construction sites, and washing dishes at restaurants. His problems may seem interminable, but he can share them with Satya, his supportive wife, and friend, played by Hiten Tejwani. These are the only two people who are aware of Parvati's secret.
Kulbhushan Kharbanda, a veteran actor, makes a cameo appearance in the film. His arrival provides a ray of hope for Rajpal's Shiva, but the story has a twist. It was refreshing to see a film that did not make fun of transgender individuals but instead presented them in a realistic light. However, filmmaker Palaash Muchhal could have used the film to emphasise the plight of the transgender population.
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Ardh is a Rajpal Yadav film in every way. He's ideal for the part of Shiva. Rubina Dilaik, on the other hand, despite having limited screen time, succeeds in convincing as the wife of a struggling actor. Her supporters, on the other hand, would have liked to see more of her in the picture.
It's an emotional story, but the direction is so bad that you don't care about the people. Although the subject is true and relatable to many struggling actors, the script should have been sharper and tighter. The change from one scene to the next was jarring. If you love Rubina and Rajpal, you can watch the film for their performances.