By Dipen Guha(29 Jul 2009)
" Arvind Desai Ki Ajeeb Dastaan" ( The Strange Destiny of of Arvind Desai) made in 1978 was Sayeed Mirza's first feature film . The screen-play was written by the dirctor and dialogues were penned Vijay Tndulkar.
Arvind Desai is the only son of a rich businessman who deals in luxury handicrafts and products . A very harmless young man, not very different from his peers, except that he has a tendancy to verbally question the values of his class. His ideas on liberal ideology, although, very vague, lead him to question the economic exploitation, which is inherent in his father's business, and suffer from a guilty conscience. His feelings for his father are mixed, on the one hand he despises his dominating nature and on the other, he admires his power and lack of scruples . Unable to do anything to relieve his conscience, and unable to drop out of his own comfortable social circle, he has long discussions on art with Marxist friend (Om Puri), furtively dates his father's secretary Alice de Costa, and sometimes visits a prostitute, Fatima, who helps him to get rid of his sins. He is incapable , however, of opposing the marriage which his family arranges for him with a girl from a high class family, just returned from Paris , to the despair of Alice's mother who realises that her daughter--whose reputation is now spoiled--was a past time for Arvind. This antoionian drft down -fall towards a certain nihilism is played out agaist the a background of degradation of ---of the conditions--of the urban life, of the conditions of the factory workers and artisans, symbolised here by the miserable salaries paid to the weavers who make the luxurious carpets sold by Arvind's father.