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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.
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...
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"There is a story and a vision which makes us gravitate towards cinema. Even as we worked as assistants on ads, we realised that cinema was our true calling," say Gunpreet Kaur Mann and Deepali Singh Raseen.
The Railway Men. Mili. Cuttputli. The Diplomat. Bade Miyan Chote Miyan. And more…
Let me introduce to you the talented designer duo who have worked on these, and can be considered today’s upcoming costume designers for the screen. Gunpreet Kaur Mann and Deepali Singh.
Having studied at NIFT, Gunpreet Kaur Mann sent her portfolio out to several designers. Her first gig was as an assistant stylist with Manoshi and Rushi, who also happen to be a designer duo. She worked on an ad film starring Saif Ali Khan and eventually landed a full time job with designer Vikram Phadnis. Years of experience as assistant costume designer followed, which eventually led her to getting a break.
A ‘thank you’ makes a lot of difference in the way any woman in your life sees herself in your eyes. It might even mean the world to her.
I have not received any appreciation in the past. Probably never will. This is the experience of ample women across the globe. The expectation to be thanked for all the sacrifices she makes to keep others happy has faded. Yet the urge to hear few words of acknowledgement always lingers.
There is never a day when she pushes off her own burdens. She knows not to give up on people she loves. Women in general, are givers by nature and hence, give without asking anything in return. They have been the care givers and lovers since centuries however receive no appreciation.
It will mean the world to your mother if you answer her calls. If your sister seems lost give her a hug and assure her about her strengths. Tomorrow, there might come a day when you would have to make your daughter feel empowered with few words of wisdom every now and then. For the children to feel wanted and loved, you must be able to spare some quality time with your wife and be present in the moment.
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