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Bollywood Movie Reviews

Afwaah, Waah Sudhir Mishra Waah




Rating: *** ½

Sudhir Mishra is back in form with a film that has a  lot of unexplored  anger and  resentment swimming underneath.The surface tension is killing Nivi,  the conflicted fiancée  of a bigoted political opportunist, who must take a life-changing  call:  remain a  cow in her  ambitious husband’s shed or run. Nivi chooses  the latter  option.

In Afwaah  Sudhir cranes his  neck out of a truck that is  probably carrying contraband  goods. We suspect  it to be one thing, but it turns  out to be  donkeys which come out braying at the end.This is  the only humorous moment  in  a film that is grim tense and   ceaselessly  exploratory and never preachy.

In the smoothly  political language of an auteur on a night out for  dark adventures, Sudhir Mishra writes out a celluloid  exposition on religious intolerance  and political opportunism. Sumeet Vyas  is pitch-perfect as  the roguish political leader  who  won’t stop at anything , even using his  fiancé for political mileage.

Vyas’ Vicky Bana has team of hardcore criminals to track down his absconding fiancée.The Bana  sena won’t stop at anything either. Director Sudhir Mishra pulls  back to look at these politically  empowered goons with amazement. His gaze falls especially on Sharib Hashmi as an unquestioning  henchman  who follows his monster… sorry, master’s orders  blindly  until a fatal incident leaves  him confused .

While the  politics  of  green and saffron runs through the film with a frenetic force,  this is also a kind of a road  movie, a very twisted  road movie no doubt, where two strangers are thrown together(literally) when one  of them  is attacked.

 Nivi and Rahab are  not meant to be  together. A recently returned  NRI, Rahab, played  by Nawazuddin Siddiqui,is  supposed to be  attending a fancy literary  festival with his sophisticated wife. Nivi? She is  not meant to be out on the dangerous  roads of  Haryana with a Muslim stranger.

As played by Bhumi Pednekar Nivi  is  a woman won’t be silenced by brute force and won’t  let the stranger who saved her life, be killed.There is  another strong woman,a lady cop played  by T J Bhanu, who is waiting to strike  against patriarchal tyranny when the  time is right.

The  characters in Afwaah are all sitting on  explosives, waiting to  blow up  and be scattered into pieces that blow wherever the wind goes. It is not  a film free  of its  flaws. The stiff  juxtaposition  of the stage  performances at a literary festival and  the violence  just outside their insulated doors , seems  a little too much of a metaphor  in a film filled with the  smoking  rage  of a viral  video on those who perpetrate  violence  in the name  of religion.

It is  not a rumour that Afwaah is   a ballsy gripping thriller. This is one rumour that is true.

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