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Review Malayalam

Cinestaan Curates: Examining isolation and patriarchy in Kallante Daivam

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Sukhpreet Kahlon

Devi PV’s short film is a clever critique of patriarchy woven in through religion, with a neat twist at the end.

The Malayalam short film Kallante Daivam, written by Santhosh Kumar and directed by Devi PV, is an exploration of the theme of lockdown. The title translates to Thief’s God and the short mobilizes the premise of the pandemic to unearth some truths about the society we live in.

When the pandemic first hit India last year and a countrywide lockdown was imposed overnight, among the places shut down were places of worship. The short film uses this premise to examine the situation in a temple, which is shut down by the committee. When devotees ask what they should do if they cannot pray to god at a time like this, pat comes the reply, “Go home and bang utensils!"

Taking advantage of the situation, a notorious thief, Gopal, decides to steal the jewels of the deity. However, he is in for a shock when the goddess appears before him. She is far removed from what he had imagined. Blurring the distinction between reality and imagination, the two start conversing and the goddess shares her predicament with the thief.

Light-hearted in tone with a clever critique of patriarchy woven in through religion, Kallante Daivam likens the situation of people being locked up during the pandemic to women being limited to their homes. Despite being a goddess, the deity is, after all, a woman and hence subject to patriarchal norms.

There is a neat twist at the end. After all, where there is a god, can a miracle be far behind?

Kallante Daivam was among the ten films chosen in the short film package, ‘Isolation and Survival’, funded and showcased by the Kerala State Chalachitra Academy. It is available on YouTube.


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