In a refined balladic manner, this atmosphere-driven film tackles the fate of a repressed family in a village in the Punjab. The old and ill father joins a villagers’ protest against a landlord responsible for demolishing a house. His son Melu, a rickshaw driver in a nearby town who was injured during a labour strike, takes to drinking and wandering the streets. On the night of the lunar eclipse, some gunshots are heard and the village is impregnated with tension. Poor and marginalized, the characters silently but emphatically emanate restlessness and discontent.
The director creatively uses space as the silent witness of events. The successfully chosen cast of mostly authentic villagers contribute with their minimalistic performances to the contemplative atmosphere of the film. This was the last project of the late great Indian cineaste Mani Kaul, who acted as creative producer in this remarkable debut.