Mumbai, 04 Feb 2020 16:00 IST
Updated: 06 Feb 2020 23:03 IST
The filmmaker's first project after the enormously successful Sairat (2016) lives up to expectations.
When you deliver a superhit like Sairat (2016), there are bound to be great expectations of your next project. After Sairat, Nagraj Popatrao Manjule set out to make Jhund with Amitabh Bachchan, his first Hindi film. But when the making of the film was stalled awhile, the filmmaker used the break to make a 26-minute short film, Pavsacha Nibandh (An Essay Of The Rain).
Rains bring with them new hope for a lot of people. Places experiencing tremendous heat heave a sigh of relief with the arrival of the monsoon. A feeling of romance also blossoms in the rains.
But after the screening of Pavsacha Nibandh, Manjule remarked, “Rain can be romantic only for those who are comfortably confined in their houses.”
The filmmaker has looked at rain from the point of view of a poor family. A schoolboy (Meghraj Shinde) is given the assignment of writing an essay on rains. The location is a village somewhere on the Western Ghats. The lush green place surrounded by mountains and lakes appears heavenly when it’s raining continuously.
But the beauty of the place is of little appeal to the boy or his family which consists of his mother (Gargi Kulkarni), father (Sheshraj Manjule) and kid sister. When he returns from school, he realizes his father is lying once again under a tree in a drunken state. His mother is furious and struggles to bring her husband to his senses. Her efforts become more painstaking because of the ceaseless rain. In the midst of all this, the boy has to write an essay on rain.
The actors not only fit the bill but give utterly natural performances, especially Kulkarni and Meghraj Shinde.
Pavsacha Nibandh would have worked even without a story, just with the scenes of heavy rain falling in this natural abode. The sound of rainfall is so perfect that it makes you feel the monsoon has arrived. Sudhakar Yeddy Yakkanti’s artistic camerawork adds to the sheer pleasure of the experience.
But at the same time you start feeling the helplessness of the people in the film. Rain is nothing short of a nightmare for them, especially when it is so heavy. The ordeal of the mother and son is greater because of the careless drunk man in their house.
Manjule expresses the irony of the situation in a subtle way when a foreign couple, which is all agog to visit a waterfall in such weather, asks the mother the way; the harried woman simply shoos them away.
Similarly, the filmmaker, in his trademark style, has shown the bitter reality of people from the lower class and caste. You are caught between the beauty of the visuals and the helplessness of the characters. This is nothing but Manjule’s triumph as a filmmaker.
Pavsacha Nibandh was screened at the 16th Mumbai International Film Festival on 1 February 2020.
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