The drama is based on the lives of three women in one of the small villages of Rajasthan. Rani, a 32 year old widow. Bijli, a sex worker and Lajjo, a barren woman. The movie portrays the struggle of women in the backward village of Rajasthan and focuses on issues such as child marriage, infertility, sex while tackling the patriarchal system of the society that relies on physical abuse, alcoholic husbands and social indifference. The movie takes the audiences through an emotional roller coaster. Will these women find salvation? Can they unshackle their chains?
The movie, shown at 24 International Film Festivals won 18 awards. Leena Yadav complained of receiving death threats from the Rabari community of Gujarat who were offended by the clothes worn by Tannishtha Chatterjee in the movie. An intimate scene between Adil Hussain and Radhika Apte was ‘leaked’ online before the Indian release of the movie and distributed as porn in India. Also, the movie has been produced by Ajay Devgn.
What to anticipate:
Laced with powerful imagery and symbols, the movie handles various ordeals in simple and emotional premises. With well written dialogues like, “mard banna chod, pehle insaan banna seekh le” to counter dialogues like, “I also want to see, how a house runs without a man.” Another dialogue that resonates throughout the movie is “Girls who read make bad wives.” Powerful scenes like sending back a woman to her in-laws even after declaring that her father-in-law and brother-in-law take advantage of her speak of the old traditions. People like Kishan, who supports education and has married a Manipuri girl, who is a teacher, is looked down upon. One empathises with the women characters of the movie and feels shameful regarding the curbed thinking of the patriarchal men.
Cutting of hair and phat-phatiya ride serve as powerful sources of freedom.
The dowry given to buy brides, men having open illegitimate affairs, physical abuse clash with the gentleness of these women when Lajjo and Rani can’t believe that men can be infertile too. The film states that women are human beings too with carnal desires and in need of love, sex and compassion. Janaki, a young bride, reminds Rani of her own days and the present and past of have been beautifully portrayed through them.
Dusshehra serves as another major symbol, bringing the movie to an end, with the death of Lajjo’s husband and the trio running away from village to lead a new life of freedom.
The background score has been sung by the vocal legends Ghazi Khan Barna and Bhanwari Devi along with singers like Harshdeep Kaur and Kalpana Patowary. The music arrangement with the classical tones of sarangi, sarod and flute shall win your hearts.
Brilliant acting, well-written plot and powerful music – what more can you ask for? It’s a win-win situation!