Sujata Hati Baruah
During a flood, a rural riverine upper Assam village lost the bridge, their only mode of connection with the outer world, and a family lost their breadwinner. The daily struggle of the villagers after the flood washed away the bridge as well as the struggle of the family to make ends meet are the sub-plot and plot of the film respectively.
The story revolves around Jonaki, the eldest daughter of the family. She tries every best possible way to survive along with her mother and younger brother. Her video of plowing in the paddy field goes viral on social media and draws media attention.
At one point in time, a journalist from a town tries to be a savior of hers but fails to become so due to the absence of a bridge, both materially and metaphorically. Jonaki, her family, and the village again reel under the recurring flood. This time, Jonaki and her younger brother lose their ailing mother. Life goes on for all the flood victims after the loss of lives, homes, and resources.
The story had a strong base. But the writing and execution have made it an amateurish celluloid experience. As a statement movie, it has tried to highlight the issue of flood and the plight of the flood-affected people of Assam. But it has taken a very shortcut path. It just tries to touch the emotional chords of the audience without delving deeper into the issue. At times, melodramatic and occasionally artificial treatments have led the audience to witness some awkward moments.
Too heavy with dialogues but used in written form has affected the spontaneity of the performers in many places. Some shots have missed the perfect angles. The costume designs are convincing but the neatly threaded eyebrows of Jonaki’s mother were not.
Despite these, the planning for two-three shots is beautiful. The sound mixing is appropriate and according to the scenes, and the best part of the movie is the promising performance of Shiva Rani Kalita who plays the lead character Jonaki. Her convincing body movements and expressions are in coordination with the otherwise incoherently written character.
However, Kalita, who has also written the film, should have been more careful while writing the screenplay. It is difficult to comprehend that the writer creates a character, who is emotionally so strong that after the death of her farmer father, she defies the social norm and learns how to plow by herself to run her family, but after a few minutes, as the story progresses, the same resilient and responsible character dreams of a life to be just a housewife of an urban journalist, leaving her mother and little brother aside!
For a moment she decides to lodge an FIR against the son of a powerful village head who tried to molest her, the next moment she agrees with her mother’s decision to sell off the bulls to arrange the fine, which was imposed upon them by the village panchayat based on the allegations brought by the pervert son of the village against Jonaki.
In the last sequences, she puts vermillion on her head by herself and sets herself free to be in a never achieved dream world in the name of hope and desperation.
Such incoherent writing of the lead character shows nothing but a lack of seriousness on the part of the scriptwriter and the imposed patriarchal imagination of the writer and director. Overall, the film was an honest attempt, but the writing and execution failed the intention.
The writer can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org