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Pagglait takes a commonplace tragedy and, through the power of its storytelling, elevates it into anything but common
Pagglait takes a commonplace tragedy and, through the power of its storytelling, elevates it into anything but common.
Let’s start at the very beginning: the title. Pagglait. Craziness. Way out of the realm of ordinary, expected behaviours comes this little gem of a film about an ordinary, expected world.
The narrative wastes no time at all in depositing us, the viewers, into the heart of Shanti Kunj, a pre-Independence era home in a Lucknow by-lane, in today’s time. Like true Indian guests with few boundaries and a visit-anytime ethos, we walk right into a bereavement.
The Giri family has lost their young, recently wed son, and the extended clan gathers for the first thirteen days of ceremonies. The protagonist, her back turned to us as we get closer, is the widow. Also, a newly wed bride of five months’ vintage, our cultural conditioning expects grief, pain, and perhaps even a touch of drama. After all, we’re desi. No stiff upper lip and containment of raw emotion for us!
But wait. We witness no drama. No chest-beating, no quiet sobbing, no dignified pain. In fact, there appears to be a near-absence of grief, as the stunned-but-composed young girl at the centre of the narrative turns our expectations on their head. As the story unfolds, it gently leads us to first, the question, and then, the realization that women are protagonists in their own lives. Stereotypes—of patriarchal UP men, of feeble, indecisive women, of faith-based choices—are all gently set afloat down the Gomti, along with the ashes of the man we never see, but whose passing sets into motion the chain of events the movie captures.
With a stellar cast of actors, (special mention to Sanya Malhotra who plays the protagonist with sublime restraint and certainty, and Ashutosh Rana and Sheeba Chadda who break one’s heart as the grieving parents), Pagglait takes a commonplace tragedy and, through the power of its storytelling, elevates it into anything but common.
A vegetarian Muslim, a father who doesn’t shy away from being the more emotive parent, the widow hanging out with her dead spouse’s ex-girlfriend, and an uncle who throws in a mental health reference, this film cranks up unexpected quirkiness in spades, while firmly centering its protagonist and her burgeoning sense of agency.
Lest you begin to think it doesn’t carry more than feel-good fluff, the movie in an under two-hour run time packs in subtle but solid punches. Female rage, check. The impact of perceived infidelity, check. A woman grappling with the sudden knowledge that her marriage was a transaction, check. Startling clarity about romantic literacy thanks to a lack of relevant experience, big fat check.
While the characters seem all too familiar, they also surprise you at every corner, and invite you to explore their rich and not-so-predictable inner lives.
Depictions of interactions between two women associated with the same man have been fairly common in the media. Yet, this narrative spotlights an intriguing dynamic of curiosity, vicarious learning, and a hesitant fondness for the other. Sayani Gupta shines in her role as the ‘other woman’, portraying it with empathy and authenticity, carrying the audience along with her side of the story.
And that is where this film truly shines: in showcasing each character- quirks, motives, conditioning, failings and all — in their deepest humanity. It tells us without preaching that we are imperfect. And just like these familiars on screen, we have a right to be loved and take that chance at this beautifully imperfect existence.
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Dilnavaz Bamboat's heart occupies prime South Mumbai real estate. The rest of her lives in Silicon Valley, California, where she hikes, reads, hugs redwood trees and raises a pint-sized feminist. She is the read more...
Women's Web is an open platform that publishes a diversity of views, individual posts do not necessarily represent the platform's views and opinions at all times.
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"I chose to go out into the remote, wild, unknown, and make it home," says entrepreneur Kiranjeet Ahluwalia Chaturvedi, who owns Birdsong & Beyond.
The story of my mountain home Birdsong & Beyond started taking shape in 2009, on the internet, the way many stories do these days.
My childhood fascination for a life in the Himalayas led to an internship with a central Himalayan NGO instead of a much prized corporate assignment. But when they offered me a full-time job, I refused. I was overcome by fear and a lack of confidence.
My other longings pulled me away – the longing to fit in, to earn validation from others. By my mid-30s, with all the trappings of a middle-class urban life in place, the call of the snows couldn’t be ignored anymore. So I got to work on it with clearer intentions and a stronger sense of what I needed for myself, and why.
Many Indian elderly are firm believers in enslaving a daughter-in-law in the name of tradition which is actually a tradition of oppression and not of religious faith.
Albeit, the popular culture has interpreted scriptures as suggesting that Kanyadaan is the supreme form of donation given to someone, the connotation that the word donation alludes to definitely objectifies the girl.
Even when the exegesis justify the act of giving away the daughter, considering it a ritual to mark the initiation of the daughter into her husband’s gotra and her becoming the part of his family tree.
There is no denial of the fact that this initiation is not required on the part of the groom thereby formally denoting the end of the filial ties with the daughter as it was popularly instructed to the bride during the Vidai ceremonies:
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