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Sairat Review – Tragic yet Wild

Sairat (2016)

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[Total: 1   Average: 5/5]

Directed By: Nagraj Manjule

Cast: Rinku Rajguru, Akash Thosar, Tanaji Galgunde, Suresh Vishwakarma

Language: Marathi

Sairat is the story of two teens from different socio-economic strata who defy power, social codes and caste-ism to give meaning to their love. It is not a new story, in fact, we have had several Bollywood movies with similar storyline. It is the treatment that stands out in Sairat. The shock and rage you feel in the end are real and moving.

Sairat literally translates to Passion: zeal and that’s exactly how you define Prashant “Parshya” Kale (Akash Thosar) and Archana “Archie” Patil (Rinku Rajguru). Parshya is a son of a fisherman- he is a cricket champ and is good in studies too. He is smitten by Archie, politician and rich upper-caste landlord Tarya’s daughter. Archie is a headstrong girl who roams around the village on her brother’s Royal Enfield. The villagers fear her because of her father and she knows it and uses her privilege unabashedly.

Parshya and Archie interact and fall for each other. Their love is real– the first love of teenage years with all its blushes, eye contacts, secret meetings and long phone calls- you laugh with joy and root for them. Parshya has two bosom friends- Pradeep (Tanaji Galgunde) , a cripple and Salim (Arbaz Shaikh), who runs a cycle puncture repair shop. Both have a good screen time and important roles to play. Tarya’s goons catch Archie and Parshya and beat them up. Seeing no way out they elope bringing ‘shame’ to each family.

They reach Hyderabad after fighting and escaping over a gun point. And then reality bites as the fairy-tale romance ends and stark poverty, unemployment, homelessness begins. Loads of misunderstandings and fights occur (as is expected in a marriage😉). They face lots of challenges but one by one they overcome together. They build a small world for themselves and are perfectly happy. Still there is something missing in their perfect world. She wants to mend the relationship with her parents probably thinking that time heals people. Maybe it does. And after a few scenes depicting apparent normalcy, climax happens.

Sairat talks about a lot of issues- all of them being some form of abuse of power. The biggest being honor killing, the term I have always been confused with. Where is “honor” in killing? It fills me with deep sadness to find human imagination to be so limited that it finds honor in killing its own kin. The climax of the movie shows just that and takes all the hope from you. The climax tells you that it is not a movie, but in fact a story that you read in a newspaper or see on the news. Sairat also talks about the effect the act of eloping has on family. In the aftermath, Parshya’s family is shunned from the village and nobody wants to marry his sister.

Sairat is a landmark in movie making. Nagraj Manjule, the director has made a movie which is more Real than Reel. Every small detail explains the mood at that point in the movie. The director has used the pause to a great effect. There is a song Yad Lagla where Archie is standing on the steps of a well and Parshya jumps in to catch a glimpse of her. The whole act lasts just 3-4 seconds but the director pauses it to make it feel like an eternity and the visuals alternate between her and his face which is full of satisfaction. Another point which stands out is that Nagraj has shown an element of style amidst the crassness of the village.  

Sairat can be classified as a two part saga where the first half before interval is the dream and what follows after interval is the reality. The first half is breezy- full of cute and heartwarming elements. The music by Ajay-Atul elevates the already brilliant movie. You don’t need to understand the language to fall in love with their music.

2nd half slows a little when the fighting and misunderstandings happen but that is natural. The climax of the movie is stark and makes Sairat truly epic. It is stunning and symbolizes death. No words are spoken and the audience is allowed to gasp and grasp the magnitude of the situation. The frame speed slows and gives time for the audience to fight themselves in accepting the reality. It is difficult to accept because just before that scene Sairat had indicated that reconciliation had happened. One of the best ending scenes I have seen in my lifetime.

Sairat’s brilliant story telling is powered by all its actors giving a fabulous performance. In an earlier scene Archie is riding a Bullet motorcycle to college- the camera pans from bottom revealing Archie and slowly alternating with the shocked onlookers. The scene finishes with Pradeep saying “God damn it! She can beat any Bollywood heroine”. Only 14-15 years of age at the time of filming yet acting at par with the best of the country. Rinku Rajguru deserves her National Award for her performance and totally owns the movie from start to finish.  Akash Thosar also has given a memorable performance. Tanaji brings in comic relief and is in fact a true friend.

Sairat has every element to make it a compelling watch. It is a story which will jolt you upright and make you talk about it. Watch it and share your rating above.

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