Synopsis by Rebecca Flint Marx
The winner of India's 46th annual National Film Award for Best Film, Samar offers both commentary on India's caste system and a spin on those seeking to observe and provide their own commentary on it. In a small village located in the Madya Pradesh province, the Thakur and Dalit castes fight over the installation of a water pump. When a Dalit, Nathu (Kishore Kadam), fearfully protests against what he feels is an unjust situation, he arouses the ire of the nasty Thakur landowner Chamak Singh (Ravi Jhankal), who duly imposes economic sanctions that threaten to starve the Dalits out of town. After Nathu's house burns down in mysterious circumstances, he goes to the local temple to ask God for help, but his contrition only gets him beaten and urinated on by Singh for breaking the ban on Dalits (also known as India's "untouchables") in a place of worship. At this point, it is revealed that the conflict is the subject of a film that is being made by a pompous Bombay director (Rajit Kapur), and that the "real" Nathu (Raghubir Yadav) is actually an energetic fellow who, wife in tow, busies himself on the film set by providing advice and factual clarification. The real Singh is now dead, and the actor playing him is an egomaniacal hipster. Tensions abound on the set, resulting in the sort of violence that the film-within-a-film purports to denounce.