CultureFilm‘Pagglait’ review: The movie wins over with its subtlety

‘Pagglait’ review: The movie wins over with its subtlety

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“Jab ladki logo ko akal ati hai na, to sab unhe pagglait hi kehte hai” says the protagonist, just before she is about to take a big decision in her life. Umesh Bisht’s ‘Pagglait’ does the coming-of-age genre in a way not done before, it juxtaposes the freedom of its central character, Sandhya, with the death of an important family member of her house or more simply, her husband.

We see Sandhya, in her bed scrolling over Facebook checking the comments under her dead husband’s ‘RIP’ post, when her family members think of how she might be crying to death after such an incident. Sandhya explains to her friend, how she had cried a lot when her cat died when she was young, and how she does not feel any of that after her husband’s demise, for which some of the family members start calling her crazy and her own mother even ends up performing rituals on her, claiming, “tumhe nazar lag gayi hai”.

The film raises important questions: Why is marriage so important for a woman? Why is society so hell-bent on proving or rather believing that a woman cannot survive without a man even though she is highly educated? Why is a woman, who breaks free from the empty societal norms often called out as ‘someone who has lost her mind’? The film brings into light other issues inside a conservative family, which is not the apparent open-minded it claims to be, a separate cup for a friend who is Muslim, yelling, ”aur dikhao padman” when a girl refers to sanitary napkins openly, and the men trying to boss over, drinking in the terrace while still expecting the women to be submerged in their grief.

The film has a huge cast and each one of them does a great job, but the performances that stand out are Ashutosh Rana’s and Sheeba Chaddha’s. The scene where his character is falling apart when Sandhya walks in to help him with his calculations is beautifully emoted. Sanya Malhotra is good in some scenes and very good in a few others, she adds nuance to Sandhya’s character, while Sayani Gupta fits in her role. Raghubir Yadav is perfectly cast as a misogynist and patriarchal member.

The music is heartwarming with Arijit Singh making his debut as a music composer, but the songs feel a little forced into the movie. The editing by Prerna Saigal is sharp, especially the sequence where the rituals being performed are intercut with Sandhya, enjoying her golgappa when she is supposed to let grief consume her. Somewhere the screenplay could have been a little better.

‘Pagglait’, is the journey of a woman who finds freedom in being crazy, in letting her take her own decisions before someone else takes it for her, in being loved for who she is, and is definitely a must-watch.

Text by: Sreyoshi Sil, IBTN9


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