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Dasvi: A Film That Commands Our Love & Respect




Movie: Dasvi(Netflix)

Starring Abhishek Bachchan,Nimrat Kaur, Yami Gautam Dhar

Directed by Tushar Joshi

Rating: ****

Except for the fact that Yami Gautam looks nothing like  a jail superintendent, Dasvi is quite  a delightful experience. It is filled with little pockets of surprising warmth and  dollops of  takeaway tenderness .

Abhishek  Bachchan,in a  career-defining performance, plays Gangaram Choudhary, the Chief Minister  of an imaginary North Indian state that looks suspiciously  like Haryana. Abhishek’s behaviour onscreen suggests he plays a younger more effervescent  and reformative  version  of Om  Prakash Chautala.His accent is  spot-on and his  body-language suggests  an arrogant ownership   of the space that he claims as though by birthright.

But let’s not get too political here. Dasvi intends  to  have fun with the politics of  gender dynamics. It also puts across a deeply-felt message  on the  importance  of education. On  both the counts,it passes the examination with distinction. While Abhishek  is delightful  as a corrupt  yet redeemable  politician who uses jail-time to educate himself , the two women protagonists in the    preponderant  plot get the  lioness’ share of  the  meat.

Nimrat  Kaur is  in terrific  form as Bimla  Devi , a  mix-n-match  variation  of  a  certain female politician  from Bihar who after her husband’s  imprisonment takes over the  chief ministerial reigns. However here’s the catch: after taking over  from her husband  Bimla Devi doesn’t want to step down, even if  her husband is released.

This part  of the gender politics is brought  to you by the webseries  series Maharani.The other  female  character  of the  jail superintendent  Jyoti Deswal is not  convincingly  played. Yami Gautam is a misfit in the role.She looks and behaves  more like  a stern editor of  a gossip magazine  sniffing out scoops rather than straightening  out the jail inmates.

But   it is wonderful   to see  two women take charge of the  hero, and  grab him by his testicles . Hats off to the  co-writers(Ritesh Shah, Suresh Nair and Sandeep Leyzell) for writing such strong roles  for the women  in what’s predominantly  the politician’s story.

The  supporting cast is terrific  specially Manu Rishi Chadha as the assistant  jailor Satpal, Chittaranjan Tripathy  as   the  servile  IAS officer(an exaggerated  but befitting portrait of how bureaucrats  are  treated  by politicians) and  Arun Kushwaha as Ghanti the horizontally  challenged  jail inmate  whom Gangaram calls ‘Bhagwan’.

Dasvi is  a well-intended  tale of  absolute power corrupting absolutely and  the ultimate  redemption.  My favourite moment  in the film shows Gangaram touching the jail superintendent Jyoti’s feet  after sitting his   examination. I won’t reveal what she  gets as guru-dakshina.  But  there is  a lot to be said about the kursi and a power-hungry politician when he sets  his mind  to it.

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