Saturday, December 5, 2015

Movie Review: Kajarya: Let the Truth Prevail

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The Story Frame:

The film Kajarya is a distressing story of a rustic village in Haryana where female infanticide is normal. Kajarya represents the vices of the society which we as humans are striving hard to get rid off but are repeatedly failing to wipe out this menace and inhuman act of gender inequality.

Kajarya is the stroy of a child widow who grows up to be the representation of Maa Kali who blesses villagers with the boon of having male child in their family and sacrifices girl child as a customary act every now and then in a year as part of Kali Puja. The writer-director Madhureeta Anand dares to talk about the ugliest truth of our nation and society in her second film Kajarya. Millions of girl child go missing in our country, millions of girl infanticide happen and more over millions are raped. Meenu Hooda as Kajarya is worth mentioning for her titular role and the rest of the cast has done justice to their roles.

Cast: Meenu Hooda (Kajarya), Ridhima Sud (Meera Sharma), Kuldeep Ruhil (Bhanwari), Shambhu (Shashi Bhushan), Sumeet Vyas (Nikhil), Nasir Ali (Sub-inspector), Manoj Bakshi (Police Inspector),

Genre: Docu-Drama

Direction: Madhureeta Anand

Produced by: Madhureeta Anand, Tilak Sarkar, Celine Loop, Qaushiq Mukherjee (Q)

Written by: Madhureeta Anand

Music by: Richard Horowitz

Cinematography: Alok Upadhyay

Film Editing by: Anuradha Chandra, Shyamal Karmakar, Manas Mittal

Theatre Release: December 04, 2015

Language: Hindi

Duration: 134 minutes
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Reviewer's Thumb Mark

Kajarya is a hard-hitting truth of female infanticide happening in our country unabated even when the law claims it is against any such act of inhumanity and gender inequality. Madhureeta Anand dares to bear to the society how harsh, rude and unapologetic men are when they ensure to be fascistically dominant in all matters of life.

Kajarya the pivotal character enacted by Meenu Hooda is intriguing, she evokes hatred, despair, helplessness and empathy at the same time effortlessly do justice to character she plays. Kajarya from a 13 year-old widow to a love-struck girl in the arms of Bhanvari (Kuldip Ruhil) and then on being a victim of manipulation and exploitation in the name of religion and custom is heartrending to watch. Kuldip as  the lover, exploiter, manipulator and her tormentor represents our mysogynistic society very well.

The world likes to sleep on the darkest and ugliest truth of women atrocities happening in our country and likes to push it under the carpet because it pricks their conscience. Therefore, they like to embroider the truth to make it convenient giving it the name of religious/social customs and traditions.

Kajarya builds a strong ground for a gripping and disturbing reality of a particular state which is already under the lens for its fast reducing women population in the society but then the filmmaker and the story falters in many areas. The film fails to justify the transformation in Kajarya from a ruthless, angry, helpless, exploited infant killer to a self-repenting, confessing and reflective woman. The transformation part is not well-build and conveyed.

Kajarya is heavily drugged with alcohol laced with opium everyday since many years and she is shown abstaining from all these one-day. Her struggle to come out this deadly habit is not supported with appropriate scenes. The transformation just happens because she comes across a reporter or is it because her judicial confinement or is it something else? There is no such empathetic dialogue or conversation that happens between the reporter (Riddhima Sud) to make the transformation happen, rather the reporter is found breaking the trust of Kajarya by coming under pressure of her bosses by revealing Kajarya's name and drawing the media attention to her. The film raises a serious point '"Is there anything like ethical journalism"? In fact, she is shown abusing and spouting expletives to Meera Sharma the reporter in the court premises when she is produced for trial. Ridhima Sud the Dil Dhadakne Do debutant girl does a decent job but could have been far better in her act as reporter and a girl representing women who are actually fence-sitters.

The love-hate relationship of Kajarya and her lover turned tormentor is not well translated because the viewers fail to understand when and how the love equation between the two went sour. There are too many things the film wants to convey like the rich boy-friend (Sumeet Vyas) of the reporter and his family's attitude towards female infanticide and women as such, the plight of the reporter's mother at home, the sensational news  seeking media bosses and the reporter herself as not so empathetic towards the victim and her desire to be in the lime-light for her story could have been more beautifully build. It seems the film fails and falters to stitch together logically and sequentially all that it wants to convey to its viewers.

What is worth watching is the relationship of Kajarya and Shambhu the village hangman and Kajarya's connect with his daughter is beautifully portrayed. In the world of doubt, exploitation and deceit there are Shambhus who do their act of humanity in silence.

Nevertheless, Madhureeta Anand's Kajarya needs to be watched not to talk about it's flaws but to reflect and act upon what she wants to convey to us. Madhureeta Anand portrays both the urban and the rural mindset with great ease. Ten million baby girls killed since 1986 in our country, three million in the last decade alone. Beti Bachao cannot just happen by a selfie with your daughter or through announcing some so-called vote bank schemes but getting down to the ground reality, rolling our sleeves to get rid of this blatant and unabated act for ever. We as a society and responsible citizen needs to reach out to women like Kajarya who becomes an easy prey and a scapegoat for all directly and indirectly involved in female infanticide in the name of religion, family traditions, and vote banks. Let's start this from our very own home.

The song by Lata Mangeshkar "Mohabbat Ki Jhooti Kahani Pe Roye" is well placed and it tugs at one's heart. The back drop of the movie is a rustic village in Haryana. Amardeep's production designs, Urvashi Bhargava's haryanvi attires, Alok Upadhyay's cinematography with Richard Horowitz's background score blends well.

Go and watch "Kajarya: Let the Truth Prevail" for its compelling message and it's realistic portrayal of the ugliest and harsh truth of our society.

Life Connoisseur Movie Rating: 2.75/5