You are here
Home > Entertainment > Film Review: “Astitva” (2000) – Women’s Identity and Empowerment

Film Review: “Astitva” (2000) – Women’s Identity and Empowerment

Film Review: “Astitva” (2000)

“Astitva,” directed by Mahesh Manjrekar, is a thought-provoking Hindi film that delves into themes of identity, gender roles, and societal norms. The film stars Tabu, Sachin Khedekar, and Mohnish Bahl, delivering powerful performances that highlight the struggles and complexities of personal identity within the constraints of a patriarchal society.

Plot Summary

“Astitva” revolves around Aditi Shrikant Pandit (Tabu), a woman who has lived most of her life under the shadow of her husband, Shrikant Pandit (Sachin Khedekar). Shrikant is a successful businessman who believes in traditional gender roles, expecting Aditi to fulfill her duties as a wife and mother without questioning his authority.

The story takes a dramatic turn when Aditi receives a letter informing her of an inheritance left to her by her former music teacher, Malhar Kamat (Mohnish Bahl). This revelation leads to a series of flashbacks, uncovering Aditi’s past affair with Malhar and the birth of her son, Aniket, as a result of this relationship. The film explores Aditi’s quest for self-identity and dignity amidst the judgments and constraints imposed by her husband and society.

Cinematic Elements

  1. Direction and Screenplay: Mahesh Manjrekar’s direction is meticulous, capturing the emotional and psychological nuances of the characters. The screenplay is tight, with well-crafted dialogues that provoke thought and introspection.
  2. Performances: Tabu delivers an exceptional performance as Aditi, portraying a range of emotions from vulnerability to strength. Sachin Khedekar is convincing as the domineering husband, while Mohnish Bahl provides depth to the character of Malhar.
  3. Music: The music by Sukhwinder Singh complements the narrative, especially the classical pieces that tie into Aditi’s passion for singing and her connection with Malhar.
  4. Cinematography: Vijay Kumar Arora’s cinematography captures the contrasting worlds of Aditi’s confined domestic life and her moments of liberation through music and self-expression.

Messages and Lessons

  1. Women’s Identity and Empowerment: “Astitva” sheds light on the importance of a woman’s identity beyond her roles as a wife and mother. It advocates for the recognition of women’s desires, talents, and rights to live a dignified life.
  2. Gender Roles and Patriarchy: The film critiques the rigid gender roles enforced by patriarchal societies. It portrays how these roles suppress women’s aspirations and subject them to unfair moral judgments.
  3. Self-Realization and Dignity: Aditi’s journey is a powerful narrative of self-realization. Despite societal condemnation, she seeks and eventually asserts her dignity, emphasizing that self-worth and respect are paramount.
  4. Communication and Understanding: The film underscores the importance of communication and understanding in relationships. Shrikant’s inability to see Aditi’s perspective leads to the unraveling of their relationship, highlighting the need for empathy and dialogue.

Final Thoughts

“Astitva” is a compelling film that challenges societal norms and advocates for women’s rights and self-respect. Its powerful narrative, combined with stellar performances, makes it a significant contribution to Indian cinema. The film encourages viewers to reflect on the entrenched gender biases and the importance of recognizing and nurturing individual identities within the fabric of society.


This review captures the essence of “Astitva” and underscores its valuable lessons, making it a film worth watching and reflecting upon.


Shri Mataji* on film Astitva: Sahaja Yogi Bhushan, Vienna

Mother pointed out that when men make mistakes, it often goes unnoticed or is easily overlooked in our male-dominated society. However, when women, whether they are wives, sisters, or mothers, make mistakes, they lose all respect and are harshly judged and mistreated. Men, on the other hand, are granted the freedom to act without facing the same level of scrutiny or consequences.

*Biography of Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi

Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi is a renowned spiritual leader who has been guiding seekers of truth since the 1970s. She achieved full self-realization on May 5, 1970, and since then, she has been revered as a True Spiritual Guru. Shri Mataji is the founder of Sahaja Yoga Meditation, a practice that aims to awaken the latent spiritual energy known as Kundalini Shakti. This awakening can only be facilitated by an authorized soul, and Shri Mataji has dedicated her life to helping people achieve spiritual enlightenment through Sahaja Yoga.

facebookShare on Facebook
Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial