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Film Review - Hawa

Chitra Parayath

One thing is for certain; Hawa is not for the faint of heart. Inspired in most part by Sidney J Furie’s The Entity, Hawa also borrows liberally from other Hollywood Horror flicks (like the Exorcist). Without being sexually explicit, the film, which deals with the issue of sexual violence, treads new ground in Hindi Cinema.

Guddu Dhanoa's Hawa tells the tale of Sanjana (Tabu) a young divorcee who moves into an isolated mansion in the woods with her brother and two young daughters.
Her life is soon turned upside down when an invisible presence begins to disturb the peace. Candles begin to light up on their own, doors and windows take on a life of their own and beds and bedposts shake uncontrollably. Sanjana lives through it all stoically, but is devastated when the ‘ghost’ sexually molests her. The attacks intensify sexually and turn deadly, when the spirit takes over Sanjana’s car while she's driving to work for a wild and almost deadly ride. Repeated assaults lead her to a doctor who dismisses her claims at first but then begins to believe her plight when he is witness to a similar incident.

The climax of the film, with a Tantric's involvement thrown for good measure is utterly pointless and begs more laughter than fear.
Tabu turns in a mature performance as the victim of rape; sadly, the less said about every other actor in the film the better.
S. Natu’s cinematography and the special effects are superior to what Hindi moviegoers are used to. Screenplay and direction are commendable too.The movie starts off very well, but as the running time goes up, it gets a tad repetitive.

The rape scenes, to Dhanoa’s credit, are done with subtlety and finesse. The average Hindi film viewer used to sleaze and innuendos, to seeing dew drops and bees sipping nectar will obviously blanche at the notion of a female protagonist welcoming or enjoying love-making (if it can be called that in this context) but kudos to Tabu for accepting this role. Even the revelation that her stepfather molested her while she was a child pushes the envelope considering how puritanical and escapist our films generally are.

Guddu Dhanoa has been accused of using provocative tag lines to attract viewers to Hawa, the film has not done too well at the Box Office in India.

This film review is sponsored by Raja and Rana of Burlington, MA

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