Kartik Aaryan’s Best Performance Is Largely Unseen

Silvat(Zee5)

Starring Kartik Aaryan, Meher Mistry

Directed  by Tanuja Chandra

Rating: ****

 If you  haven’t seen  this 2018  digital  film  which you can easily  locate on  Zee5, you haven’t seen  what Kartik Aaryan  is   capable  of. We can safely  say it  is a tailormade role for the  young actor,. Playing a Muslim darzi in the crowded gully  of  what looks like Mumbai’s  Haji Ali locality, Kartik is  every bit Anwar,  the shy sensitive  tailor who develops  a secret passion for his  favourite  client: a  lonely abandoned wife  Noor(Meher Mistry) whose husband has  migrated to  Riyadh for  a job with nary  a glance back for the woman he has left behind.

 The  focus of  the passionate  plot, pulsating with unspoken ardour, is Noor. But it’s Kartik’s Anwar  who silently steals   the show.There is  no exhibition of outward passion here.And yet  so much is said through Anwar’s eyes. Every stolen glance is  laden with longing. When she asks if he would like  a cup of tea, Anwar knows  it’s just a  ruse to make him stay longer than his job allows.His reply to the  kind  offer, ‘Maine  kabhi  chai ke liya naa bola hai?’ says  everything without saying anything.

There is a  humorous  sequence between Noor  and Anwar where he brings  a goat to her  house for a visit.  Noor comments on how good the goat smells. ‘Liril  se  nahaya hai kya?’

This is Kartik’s only film with  a female  director.  It is evident that he blossoms  as  an actor  under  the female gaze.I  have always been fond of Tanuja Chandra’s work. She understands women , men  and the dynamics that govern human relationships. In the  40 minutes  of  playing time in Silvat there are  lot of unstated emotions. It as if the writers  chose to leave  the words out  because  they knew there  was little time to waste  here.

Tanuja Chandra  whips up a muted urgency between the  couple. They know  their love can never be .That  there can never be  a silvat(crease) on the bed as long as the husband is away.

 Tanuja’s eye  for detail is astute and  comprehensive. The interiors of Noor’s  tiny home  where most  of  the plot unfolds,is  every bit what  it should be, Functional, neat, desolate….The  film is shot on location in a Muslim locality  with  streetside  vendors frying parathas and  malpuas,  hawkers selling bangles . The bustle of  the street is  weighed against those  heavy loaded silences between Noor and Anwar.

They know they cannot cross the wall that divides them.A married  young woman dutifully waiting for her  absconding husband  to return home cannot give in to her emotional and physical desires.This  is 1997. And  riots  don’t  happen  only on the streets. Sometimes they  also occur  in a woman’s  lonely heart.

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