Sairat (Marathi, meaning wild) is a love story of two socially unequal people, with a tragic ending and with ordinary friends assisting. That’s Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak plus Tezaab plus Love Sex aur Dhoka: three Bollywood classics rolled into one to give Marathi cinema its first ever 100 cr box office hit. Sairat’s rights have been purchased to be remade in six languages – Tamil, Telegu, Kannad, Malayalam, Punjabi and Hindi. The last one, purchased by Karan Johar. Go see the original today!
Director producer Nagraj Manjule shot into fame with the brilliant Fandry – both films can be found in Netflix, Singapore. Both films have village settings. But Sairat’s storyline, not being unique, is massively made up with modern societal attributes. The settings are mostly in a contemporary, accessible, mobile friendly, T20 cricket festival hosting village with a good school in it. That’s a village of 2016 – maybe #AccheDin are finally coming up. The six sigma cinematography makes it a village you want to retire and adore nature’s creation, forever.
Then the female protagonist, the upper class Archana/Archi, is the bolder, authoritative and more decisive one. She elopes with her love, the unprivileged Prashant/Parshya – impressed with his allround personality, school topping, cricket matchwining and flirting skills. In this modern day love story, she calls the boy to meet her ‘in the farms’. In one telling shot, deep into the movie, the couple are seeing riding a scooty – with Archi riding it and Parshya sitting behind holding their kid, interestingly – while on the footpath some orange clad rouges are punishing couples for breaking societal norms.
In most frames of the movie, Sairat is refreshingly different to what you have seen ever before. At no point you feel it’s the same 1980s rich girl meets poor boy story. There is a shot where Archi & Parshya are holding hands walking in the farms, while in the background you see a flock of birds flying and changing patterns. Birds flying has been repeatedly shown in the movie possibly a connotation on how humans lack that freedom.
There are several other pointers too. When Archi walks up to Parshya, first time, and authoritatively says she likes the boy staring at her. Or in the next meeting she asks why they call their limp buddy as ‘langda’ when they should be addressing him with his nice name Pradeep. Or when Archi tears up the false police complaint making it clear that Parshya and his friends never raped or kidnapped her but that she mastered the eloped plan. All telling statements on modern behaviour.
Even post interval when our protagonists are struggling to make a living in the slums of Hyderabad (mind you, slum house with flat screen television but utterly stinking common toilets), Archi finds it tough to forgo her luxurious lifestyle and adjust in the stink. Or when she is asked to buy basic groceries but ends up buying a wall poster. Nagraj Manjule’s characters are steeped in practicality, in modern India, amidst the chaos, amidst the blood thirsty blocked minds.
The plethora of charming scenes and unparalleled performances aside, the movie ends tragically. Which makes the viewer hang his head in shame – for our racial bias, class bias, social biases, mindset rigidity and all that’s wrong between our ears. The beauty of quality movie making is that performances are so natural that you feel it’s a world around you. That most of the faces are new makes you relate to them easily. Note the boys dancing in joy near the train tracks. You want to dance with them.
When Sairat ends you are not moved to tears, but the last scene remains etched in your memory forever. You are left to reflect on a society around you who are hell bent on making, the only life god gave us – complicated, violent, stressfull and bloody.
So much so that a orphan toddler’s bloody footmarks don’t move us. Acres of harvested crops burnt (just because the couple are supposedly hiding somewhere there), doesn’t bother us. That a slum dweller, Suman Akka, shares whatever she had with an unknown harassed couple, without checking their caste, creed, religion etc, doesn’t make us introspect.
Till the day you use economic, caste, class or religion as a tool of dividing or segregating or categorizing humans, you deserve to be spat upon.
IMDB Rating: 8.7/10