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Movie Review - Bawandar

Chitra Parayath

Bawandar( The Sandstorm)

Directed by Jagmohan Mundhra
Cast includes Nandita Das, Raghuvir Yaadav, Deepthi Naval, Lillete Dubey and Gulshan Grover

In spite of some obvious flaws in plot and character development, by and large Bawandar is an ambitious step forward in the tired old world of Hindi Cinema. The film, based on a true story , has clung close to a straight forward approach, often hard hitting and gritty, making one wonder how it passed the usually strict Indian Cinema Censor board. The sordid tale of the rape of a poor low-caste woman by wealthy upper caste bullies has been told in many Hindi films, Bawandar is probably the first one to attempt to peel away layers of apathy and corruption that social and legal procedures pose in cases such as these. Based on a real life incident, it is about the struggle of Bhanwari Devi, a sathin in Bhateri village near Bassi in Jaipur district, who fell victim to anti-social elements of the village about six years ago: a rape incident that shocked the whole country. Nandita Das does perfect justice as the protagonist Sanwari Devi, ably supported by another underrated actor Raghuvir yadav. Deepthi Naval as the social activist and Gulshan Grover as the lawyer helping Sanwari's case, bring an earnestness to the roles they play, as does the new indie film favorite Lilette Dubey. Rahul Khanna & Laila Rouass have little to do in this film but look good and that they do with aplomb. The US based director Jagmohan Mundhra , apparently moved by the story of Bhanwari Devi decided to return to his native Rajasthan to film Bawandar based on her quest for justice. Produced by Vinod and Gorang Doshi, it has been made in German, French English and Hindi. The village scenes are realistic, the bleak landscape lends credence to the overall woe . Haunting tunes linger long after you have listened to them as do the scenes. One scene comes to mind, the distraught couple, the courageous woman and her supportive husband crying in each others arms bring home to the viewer, the futility they feel , beaten every time by the law and social norms. After quite a long time, comes along a Hindi film, worth watching. The contents are often graphic and disturbing, not recommended for children. .

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