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Direction: Shyam Benegal
Banner: Raviraj International
Story: CT Khanolkar's novel Kondura (1966)
Screenplay: Shyam benegal, Arudra & Girish Karnad
Lyrics: Arudra
Camera: Govind Nihlani
Music: Vanraj Patil
Anant Nag,
Smita Patil,
Shekar Chatarjee,
Rao Gopal Rao,
AR Krishna
Benegal's only film in Telugu was made in Andhra region in which his earlier political Hindi dramas (Ankur, 1973; Nishant, 1975) are located. Continuing his interest in the politics of rural exploitation, this is a morality tale linking religious illusions with personal frustrations.

Adapting a mystical Marathi novel, it tells of the Brahmin Parashuram (Nag) who meets the sage Konduraswamy (Rao Gopal Rao) and receives a boon: in exchange for a vow of celibacy he receives a root able to terminate pregnancies. Parashuram's wife (Vanisree) reluctantly goes along with her husband's new convictions and soon he becomes known as a holy man.

In his dreams, the 'holy man' covets the daughter-in-law of rich scoundrel and, mistakenly assuming that the scoundrel impregnated her, Parashuram administers the abortive root to the woman with disastrous results. Disillusioned, Parasuram realizes his asceticism was an act of naivety and he proceeds to rape his own wife who then commits suicide. The film ends with a voice-over instructing the audience to consider the implications of the story.

The original novel, set in the culturally primitive Konkan, uses its central mythic narrative to create different states of perception so that the viewer is consistently asked to interrogate the protagonist's experiences, leaving open the question of whether the frustrated and exploited Parashuram every really saw what he says he saw. This film sidesteps this level of complexity and settles for a more standard political critique of feudalism.

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