I hardly ever write a review if I have watched a late show. Given that this film finished an hour ago and here I am typing away, might give you a hint of how much I want to share my thoughts. I am unsure how much I can write without revealing anything which would act as a spoiler but here goes!
This is a film in Haryanvi about Haryana which is definitely not my favourite state even though I have tons of friends in Gurgaon and love Cyber Hub! This is a film based on honour killing and we all know how well the northern states do in this particular sport. I did not have any expectations when I sat down in PVR to watch a special screening of what I thought would be usual fare.
Three testesterone driven young men abduct a runaway couple and I am all ready for the inevitable rape, bludgeoning and murder/s, a la NH10. But the narrative surprises by doing things differently and showing me little glimpses of humanity in the abductors. I almost feel for them by the time the sequence ends.
A series of characters are introduced in quick succession leaving me slightly bewildered. Each character is real and extremely believable and I am amazed when the narrative slowly reveals their connections. Set in a village a few hours drive from Delhi, the story takes me into the heartland of Haryana, the state who’s pathetically skewed gender ratio leads to incestuous fantasies and furtive liaisons. Where men live by double standards; where matriarchs oppress younger generations almost as much as the men do; where young love is a curse; where violence is passe and misogyny is norm; where girls are treated like cattle and life is cheap. First time director Rahul Dahiya creates a vortex of violence, lust, police brutality, gender and caste discrimination with laughable ease.
I had been blown away by Udta Punjab which was slick, expensively made with established stars and the works. But G Kutta Se, shot in natural light, with very little budget, no stars and no glamour, manages to compete with Udta Punjab by portraying male chauvinism, patriarchy and honour killings with a casual nonchalance which hits very hard. Like the former, this film too has been knocked around by our very own favourite censor board. I have to share a part of the censor boards comments, in Clause 2. ‘Titillation’…how quaint is that 😀
The cast comprising of a mix of newcomers and not so new actors like Rajveer Singh, Neha Chauhan, Nitin Pandit, Rashmi Singh Somvanshi, Sandeep Goyat, Vibha Dikshit, Parth Sharma and others does an admirable job, each actor bringing a stamp of believability into his/her own character. A special mention for the camera that moves relentlessly like a frisky puppy hell bent on having its own way; under beds; over walls; amidst fields; inside narrow lanes; under clothes and into souls.
G Kutta Se was the official selection at the New York India Film Festival 2015 and Chicago South Asian Film Festival 2016 and also the India Gold Winner at the Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival 2016. Do not worry about the language since is easy to follow in most parts and the entire film is subtitled for those who may find the accent slightly tough to deal with.
Here is the official trailer of the film https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_6qxTS9q3E8 which releases today, 16th June 2017. Interestingly, it will occupy a lot of screens in the north, especially in the state it depicts.
While we all troop to multiplexes to watch glitzy, PR driven Bollywood behemoths, the smaller films are crying out for support. G Kutta Se deserves a long run at the box office and I hope we will make it happen.
Copyright © Taraa Vermaa Senguptaa June 2017
All rights reserved