A; Drama
Director: Bikas Ranjan Mishra
Cast: Sanjay Suri, Tannishtha Chatterjee, Soham Maitra
Rtaings: 3.5 stars

Debutant director Bikas Ranjan Mishra narrates a disturbing story of a regressive society still clinging tightly to the caste system. Difficult for urban audience to grasp, maybe, but a reality nevertheless, Mishra’s tale highlights how Dalits go through their lives full of humiliation and servility in the hands of those belonging to the upper caste.

Santu’s lacklustre world is brightened up by the presence of his pet pig and the girl, Mona who passes him by on her way to school and smiles at him. Santu’s older brother (Riddhi Sen) is his only confidante, while his harrowed mother (Tannishtha Chatterjee) is constantly worried about his future.

Apart from some realistic performances, especially by the two child actors (Maitra and Sen), what works for the film is the painstaking attention given to details. Also, some subtle references to the hypocrisy of casteism is made rather cleverly, like the one scene where the head of the village, Dhawal (Sanjay Suri), who enjoys an intimate relationship with a woman belonging to a lower caste, doesn’t let her son touch his feet.

This story might not be easy to relate to, as it is far removed from our realities, but it is to the debutant director’s credit that Santu’s struggles and helplessness get to you.

Not glossing over the truths, Mishra presents it as it is even as he explores a deeply disturbing parallel story of a sex-starved blind priest (Dhritiman Chatterjee).

Only complaint is that the movie moves at a painfully slow pace at points.

This is not an easy watch, but definitely an important one.


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