I had heard a great deal about this 2016 mega-hit Marathi classic Sairat. My non-Marathi background coupled with lack of time had held me back. The movie is finally added to Netflix and I got to watch the movie recently with English subtitle.
What do I say about the movie?
I have never seen a love story, especially in Indian cinemas, that delivers content with such a rawness, sensitivity and flawless way. The songs are melodious and very relevant to the situations. Credit must go to the director Nagraj Manjule.
The most important thing about Sairat is its STORYLINE. The first half packed with a lot of romance and mesmerizing dialogues that took me back to my teenage years. I really wished I became a teenager again! The interaction between Pashya and Archi is a pure delight to hear and watch. The second half is where the plot moves at a breathtaking pace.
As I watched, I prayed nothing should happen to the struggling cute couple, and the scenario seemed to move in that direction when the Director Manjule delivers a heartbreak at the end. My senses could not believe the tragic ending. The toddler coming out of the house, crying and leaving behind blood laced footprints was too much to watch. My body shivered and tears rolled down from my eyes. I usually don’t cry but I sobbed.
The final shock in the movie is really a masterstroke of a genius director. He misled the audience believing that a better future is in store for them and then delivered a silent killer, and of course without visual violence. This is something can’t be easily portrayed. But Manjule does it with elan.
The second important point is the cast. All the lead actors and supporting casts are just brilliant. I liked the acting of Archie. It’s just for her I watched the movie for the second time. She is an immensely talented actress, and I’m glad that Manjule recognized her talent early.
Other actors have done their roles exceedingly well but Archie stands out. It is rare to see a tractor driving girl in real life, let alone in a movie. Archie drives a 500 CC beast, a tractor, and even fires bullet at her own men for love sake. I loved her acting.
Kudos to Manjule for giving so much power to heroin. No doubt there is heroin centric films in Indian film industry but allowing heroin to become torchbearer in the film even in the presence of an able hero is really something never seen.
Last but not least, the powerful social message the movie delivers. It is certainly the main objective of the film. It has highlighted several menacing social problems.
- The caste issue is on the forefront but the film does not endorse hatred for any caste group. The heroine, who belonged to the upper caste, shown in a positive way and given much power in the film. The storyline blames the ‘lower caste’ boy for the avoidable issue that creeps in their personal relationships.
- The film debunks co-relation between higher marks and intelligence. The hero scores higher marks than the heroin in the school exam, but it was the heroine who possess more intelligence. She adapts better to situations than the hero and rises in rank in her job while hero merely shifts his jobs.
- Sairat also highlights the issue of disability. One of the main characters – the lead actor’s close friend – is disabled. But he is shown to possess more common sense than his two friends and learn faster from his mistakes. Heroine admonishes hero and his friend Salim for referring their disabled friend as ‘the gimp’ and urge them to call by his name.
- The film also shows the reality of falling into impossible love, where the barriers between the couples are too steep to climb. Where there is such a barrier, there is always the possibility of honor killing. I hope this movie has educated people about the social evil of ‘honor killing’.
I don’t see any major downside in the movie. From the first to last it is thoroughly engrossing. Nevertheless, I feel the movie is a bit long, not boring though.
To conclude it is really daring on the part of Director Nagraj Manjule to go beyond the convention of glamour and cast average looking debutant teenagers as lead actors. The budget was also massive. So it was a big risk to take but Manjule’s self-belief paid off at the end.