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Review Marathi

Kharvas review: Poignant, hopeful tale about coming to terms with tragedy

Release Date: 21 Nov 2018 / 38min

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Suparna Thombare

Aditya Suhas Jambhale's short film delves into the physical and emotional challenges of a woman dealing with a stillbirth.

Kharvas is a sweet delicacy made from colostrum (the first secretion from the mammary glands after childbirth, a fluid rich in antibodies), used here as that moment of catharsis for a mother dealing with the tragedy of having delivered a stillborn child.

Directed by Aditya Suhas Jambhale, the film follows Asawari (Veena Jamkar) who faces the physical, emotional and societal ramifications of the tragedy.

As Asawari continues to lactate, it becomes tough for her mind to accept that her baby is no more.

The medical issues that come with losing a child at birth have rarely, if ever, been dealt with on screen. And that makes Kharvas stand out.

Asawari stops following her passion, which is painting, and retreats to her ancestral home in a Konkan village to overcome her trauma.

The family cow is pregnant and her delivery on a rainy night acts as a catalyst for Asawari to come to terms with her own loss.

Jambhale focuses on the process of healing. Even as Asawari's brother tries his best to get rid of all the triggers, what he doesn't realize is that they are actually what she needs.

The director resorts to some obvious token scenes — an interfering relative, children playing in the yard — to put his point across.

The screenplay, though, is tight and poignant, aided by Jamkar's dramatic performance.

A well-shot climax packs in all the action, becoming a great lead-in to a hopeful conclusion — life goes on and the smiles will be back, but the process of grieving is equally important.

Kharvas was screened as the opening film of the Indian Panorama (Non-feature) section at the 49th International Film Festival of India in Goa on 21 November 2018.

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