Astitva tackles the basic issue of marital relationship and forces us to make an honest look at our own relationships with the opposite sex. It subtly touches the need of "communication" in understanding the sensitivity and each other's needs and wants - lack of which is the result in the form of the movie: Astitva.
After a long time, I can say that I had the opportunity of watching a clean Indian movie that despite its plot and storyline has judiciously stayed away from the typical presentation of violence, sex stimulating scenes and double meaning song and dance sequences.
"Astitiva" is the story of Aditi (Tabu), an average Indian housewife and a mother. Her life revolves around making meals, reading newspaper, doing normal domestic chores and while away the day in loneliness. Yet she is content and satisfied in simply being and belonging to the home that includes her husband Srikant (Sachin Khedekar) and her son Aniket who is engaged to a progressive girl (Namrata Shirodkar)
The movie opens to establish Srikant as the busiest of the busy man with a lot of traveling that makes him away from home for long durations. One day, Srikant is getting ready to go to work (loaded with appointments) and with not enough time to even partake his breakfast. A phone rings and his old friend (Ravindra Mankani) announces his arrival in town with his newlywed former divorcee wife (Smita Jaykar). Without much ado, Srikant invites the couple for lunch. It is then a letter arrives for Aditi which Srikant opens and learns that Aditi has been left a fortune by Malhar (Mohnish Behl), Aditi's former and now deceased singing teacher. The doubtful mind of Srikant compels him to think as to why Malhar had done so and he begins to do research on the basis of his own writings in his daily diary. It is during this research and after 25 years of marriage that he discovers to his disappointment and frustration that their son Aniket was born 8 months after his first sexual encounter with his wife. He confronts Aditi with his analysis and Aditi confirms that Aniket is actually Malhar's son. Both Srikant and Aniket (who is not Srikant's son) decide to shun Aditi.
What happens next, is for you to watch the movie where you will experience a great performance by Tabu. Portraying a true to life, yet a difficult role, Tabu carries the movie on her shoulders. Other performers have done well to portray their roles reasonably well, giving a commanding presence to the character that Tabu portrays. Like any story, Astitva too has obvious flaws at some places, yet the basic issue is so strong that those can be conveniently overlooked.
Using flashbacks with a lot of intelligence, the director has maintained a decent pace throughout the movie and compels the viewers to stay glued. I will recommend all married couples to view this movie.