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Ek Pal 1986

Kalpana Lajmi’s directorial debut tells a story of extramarital sex in the tea gardens of Assam. Priyam (Azmi), married to the staid but loving Ved (Shah), has an affair with her former boyfriend Jeet (Shaikh) while her husband is away. She becomes pregnant. Having already had one miscarriage, she is determined to keep the baby despite her boyfriend’s protests. On his return, Ved eventually accepts both his unfaithful wife and her baby. Lajmi explained that she set the story in Assam to link the heroine’s innocence and later loneliness with the environment, but the easier if less sympathetic explanation is reviewer Aloknanda Datta’s (in Splice, July 1986) suggestion that the gardens merely provide an exotic backdrop. Famous Assamese singer-composer Hazarika contributes some fine compositions, overcoming the mandatory emphasis on regional folk-music in films set in exotic locales.

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