Astitva: A Powerful Drama About a Woman's Identity
Astitva is a 2000 Hindi film directed by Mahesh Manjrekar and starring Tabu, Sachin Khedekar, and Mohnish Bahl. The film explores the theme of a woman's identity and dignity in a patriarchal society. The film was critically acclaimed and won several awards, including the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Hindi and the Filmfare Critics Award for Best Actress for Tabu.
The film tells the story of Aditi Pandit (Tabu), a middle-aged housewife who lives a comfortable but unfulfilled life with her husband Shrikant (Sachin Khedekar) and son Aniket (Sunil Barve). Shrikant is a successful music composer who is often busy with his work and neglects his wife. Aditi feels lonely and bored, and yearns for some excitement and romance in her life.
One day, she receives a letter from a lawyer informing her that she has inherited a large sum of money from her former music teacher Malhar Kamat (Mohnish Bahl), who has recently passed away. Aditi is shocked and confused, as she has no idea why Malhar would leave her such a huge amount. She decides to keep the letter a secret from her husband and son, and goes to meet the lawyer.
There, she learns that Malhar was in love with her and had an affair with her 25 years ago, when she was pregnant with Aniket. Malhar never married anyone else and remained devoted to Aditi till his death. He also reveals that Aniket is actually Malhar's son, not Shrikant's. Aditi is stunned and devastated by this revelation, and wonders how to deal with it.
Meanwhile, Shrikant finds out about the letter and confronts Aditi. He accuses her of being unfaithful and dishonest, and questions her character and morality. He also doubts Aniket's paternity and treats him coldly. Aditi tries to explain that she was lonely and unhappy in their marriage, and that Malhar was the only person who gave her some attention and affection. She also says that she never loved Malhar, and that it was a mistake that happened only once.
However, Shrikant refuses to listen to her or forgive her. He humiliates her in front of their friends and family, and threatens to divorce her. He also tries to take away Aniket from her, claiming that he is not his son. Aditi is hurt and angry by Shrikant's behavior, and decides to fight for her rights and dignity. She also realizes that she has to tell Aniket the truth about his father.
The film ends with a court scene, where Aditi challenges Shrikant's divorce petition and demands half of his property as alimony. She also asks for Aniket's custody, saying that he is her son regardless of who his biological father is. She argues that she has been a loyal wife and a loving mother for 25 years, and that she deserves respect and recognition for her contribution to the family. She also questions Shrikant's double standards, as he himself had affairs with other women but never faced any consequences.
The judge rules in favor of Aditi, granting her divorce, alimony, and custody of Aniket. He also praises her courage and honesty, and says that she has set an example for other women who are oppressed by their husbands. He also advises Shrikant to introspect on his own faults and failures, and to learn to respect women as equal partners.
Aditi walks out of the court with Aniket by her side, smiling confidently. She has finally found her identity and freedom. a474f39169