Arth is a 1982 film directed by Mahesh Bhatt. The movie stars actors Shabana Azmi, Kulbhushan Kharbanda, Smita Patil, Raj Kiran and Rohini Hattangadi. The film features a memorable soundtrack by Jagjit Singh and Chitra Singh. The semi-autobiographical film was written by Mahesh Bhattabout his extramarital relationship with actress Parveen Babi.
Pooja (Shabana Azmi), who grew up as an orphan girl and always dreamt of owning a house, becomes insecure when she finds out that she and her husband, Inder (Kulbhushan Kharbanda), have to leave the apartment they rent. Then occurs the twist in the story and it is revealed that her husband is in love with another woman named Kavita (Smita Patil), with whom he earned the money (in the film industry) for the new apartment. Pooja who had advised her maid (Rohini Hattangadi) when she was cheated by her husband, faces a similar situation. When Inder deserts Pooja for Kavita, she chooses to leave the apartment for a women’s hostel with only 2000 rupeesthat she had when she got married. She is helped by Raj (Raj Kiran) to surpass the difficulties of life as a single person, to find a job and to rely morally on herself. Raj and Pooja become good friends. Gradually, Kavita’s mental instability deepens her fears of insecurity, even after Inder requests Pooja to sign the divorce papers.
Raj falls in love with Pooja and proposes to her. She refuses saying she is empty and cannot give him anything. Raj tries to persuade her saying that she cannot spend the rest of her life feeling miserable about the past and that she should try to find a new life for herself. Pooja promises to think about it.
Pooja’s maid, whose only aim in life is to secure a good education for her daughter, has saved Rs 1000 towards her admission fees. She finds out that her drunk husband has stolen the money. Furious, she searches for him to find him in the arms of his lover after spending all the money. She kills him and goes to the police station and confesses her crime. Worried about her daughter, she calls Pooja who promises to take care of the daughter.
After the insistence of Kavita’s mother (Dina Pathak) and of her personal doctor (Om Shivpuri), Pooja personally assures Kavita that she is not interested in Inder anymore. However, Pooja’s attitude only convinces Kavita that breaking Pooja’s marriage was a mistake. To escape from her feeling of guilt and insecurity, she breaks-up with Inder. The latter tries to revive his relation with Pooja, but is rejected.
Pooja continues to live with her maid’s daughter and refuses to marry Raj saying that she has found a new meaning to life in being independent and being a mother to the child and marrying Raj will only weaken her.