Chauranga – movie review

This is a typical art film made for the international festivals circuit—full of overdosing about the illiteracy and ignorance and crime and above all upper caste prejudice against lower castes and the injustices they inflict upon them in India . The western audience comes to these films to feel good about how fortunate they are to live in the west while Indians are mired in superstition and poverty and backwardness . In return they give some awards to the film in international festivals that are eagerly lapped up by the makers of the film to market their film in India . Even in India the audience who had come to watch the film was similar—mod babes in miniskirts or other flesh showing attire who had come to feel fortunate about being westernised when other Indians were living life in the darkness depicted in the film . The critics in India also have applauded the film—presumably to show how ‘liberal’ they are to like a film that shows their own kind ( upper caste Indians ) inflict misery upon the lower castes .

So the film is based upon an incident in India ( in Bihar , where else ) where a lower caste boy was killed for having written a love letter to an upper caste girl . Obviously the film makers could hardly let go of the opportunity to make a politically correct film about how upper caste hindus are villains in modern India ; the degree of political correctness being higher if you rant more against them .

So typically , the highest of the castes is shown as most depraved in the film . Yes , the blind village brahmin ( played by Dhritiman Chatterjee ) is so sexually depraved that he gropes the pretty daughter ( played by Ena Saha ) of the landlord of the village ( played by Sanjay Suri ) while she takes him to his home from her house supporting him because he is blind . But on reaching home he also gropes the black goat he keeps in his house !!

The landlord himself is a predator who has a sexual relationship with a lower caste woman called Dhaniya ( played by Tannishtha Chatterjee ) even though he has a wife and daughter . But his goons beat up Dhaniya’s son regularly even though the landlord himself finances the son’s education in return for Dhaniya’s sexual favours . The landlord presides as virtual dictator in a system where lower castes are systematically excluded from any function , and he indeed fosters the system . When a lower caste boy ventures into the village temple , angered upper caste goons dump him into a well badly injuring the boy—but the landlord and the priest are more bothered about purifying the temple because a lower caste person has defiled it .

The situation is ripe for rebellion , and a rebel arises in due course—Dhaniya’s younger son Santu ( played by Soham Maitra ) , who refuses to touch the landlord’s feet and looks at him and other upper castes with defiance even though the landlord refuses to finance his education for his defiant attitude . And he casts covetous eyes on the landlord’s daughter forcing his older brother to write a love letter to her in his ( Santu’s ) name which he hands her himself—an act of extreme chutzpah by a lower caste in the upper caste dominated world which the director has created .

So an explosive confrontation is about to occur , but a venomous snake that is always lurking near the village has plans of putting a spanner in the works of everything by coming to the same place where the landlord and Dhaniya are having their session of sizzling sex in the fields outside the village—and the snake comes armed with it’s poisonous bite…

So what happens next ?—watch the film for that…

While watching the film I could not but admire the creativity of the film maker and the acting of the actors . No songs are there in the film and the film is only one and a a half hour long . But even the one and a half hour is enough for the film to make an impact—an impact that will leave a foreigner with the most disgusting impression about India . Westerners walking out of foreign film festivals will talk about India as the land of horrible disease and filth . I wondered that if these same film makers had applied their talents ( and the maker of this film is undoubtedly talented ) to show something good about our nation , then they could raise it’s worth overseas . But it is sad they use their talents to peddle such degrading impressions about India….

Verdict—Good .

Three and half stars .

3.5 ( 3.5 / 5.0 )