New Delhi, 20 Dec 2021 14:30 IST
Prachee Bajania’s graduation film at the Film and Television Institute of India was screened at IFFI last month and the Beyond Borders feminist festival this month.
“Do stories of courage talk about fatigue?” The question is pivotal to Prachee Bajania’s Gujarati-language short film The Spell Of Purple which considers the tiredness that sets in when fighting a long, hard battle against patriarchy, a battle which seems to have no end in sight. The film stars Swati Das, Shraddha Kaul and Vidisha Purohit.
Inaas, a young woman, is the sole owner of a small field in tribal Gujarat. Being all alone as a woman and a landowner, she is a vulnerable target. Her neighbours brand her a ‘witch’ and take every opportunity to harass her. Trying to look for some support, she seeks out other women, a new mother and a young woman who are both facing turmoil in their lives.
The short film looks at the ways in which society shackles women in certain roles. Inaas is preyed upon physically and mentally because of her gender and labelled a witch, which is the oldest trick in the book deployed by society for women who assert themselves.
However, Bajania situates her character in an examination of the fatigue of fighting a long-drawn battle with those around her. In finding other women, Inaas receives support and strength, foregrounding the sisterhood of women. The Spell of Purple portrays the solitariness of women as well as their nurturing role which is echoed in the Mahua forest, the only one that can receive their innermost thoughts. The song featured towards the end is almost a lament that underlines the atrocities against women since time immemorial.
The Spell Of Purple was Bajania’s graduation film at the Film and Television Institute of India, Pune. It was screened in the Indian Panorama Non-Feature Film section at the 52nd edition of the International Film Festival of India last month and at the Beyond Borders Feminist Film Festival earlier this month.