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Review Hindi

Cinestaan Curates: Ghar Se is a dark film about women taking matters into their own hands

Release Date: 07 May 2021 / 10min

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Sukhpreet Kahlon

The film, which is centred on a woman's relationship with her daughter-in-law, was a finalist for the Filmfare Short Film Awards 2021.

The notion of home as the space of comfort and belonging gets twisted in Mridul M Nair’s thriller Ghar Se, which sees two women taking charge of a certain situation as it unexpectedly unfolds before them.

The short Hindi film opens with a young woman in a relatively rundown home, washing utensils and humming a song. With a shift in time, the narrative moves to the young woman, the daughter-in-law of the house (Nimisha Sajayan), with her mother-in-law (Ambika Rao), going about their household work. As the strains of a popular Hindi song float in, the two start humming the melody. The relationship between them is that of quiet ease.

The two are jolted by news on TV about an absconding rapist, who has fled after committing a crime that very evening. Shaken, they wait for the man of the house, the husband and son of the two women, respectively, to arrive.

However, when he stumbles into the home, he is clearly drunk and treats both women shabbily, cursing and shouting at them. The film takes quite an unexpected turn towards the end as we realize the truth about the man.

With minimal dialogue, Ghar Se examines a situation where women rise in solidarity with each other, even if it means taking extreme measures. Instead of being paralysed by fear, the two unite to take a bold step. The premise of the film is an unusual one as it is centred on the relationship between the two women, which is cemented by a love for old Hindi film songs. The insertion of Hindi film songs as a device, though novel in the grim context of the film, seems a tad imposed. It does communicate the mindset and ultimate resolve of the women but sits awkwardly in the flow of the narrative. 

The film was inspired by multiple reports of sexual abuse and acts of violence against women and shot during the lockdown last year with a minimal crew.

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