Movie Reviews

The Silence Movie Review: Child Abuse Gets A Sensitive Treatment In This Marathi Film!

The Silence

Some  truths are so painful that  the pain must transmit itself to the audience if it must be made into cinema. The Silence is a very painful film to watch. It strips aside the niceties that would make child rape more palatable to the audience , and  puts the audience face-to-face with the innocence of the little girl Chini(Vedashree Mahajan) and  the monster Mama(Uncle) who molests her in  a godown teeming with possibilities of a staged sexual assault,

The  Silence

Starring: Anjali Patil, Nagaraj Manjule, Raghuvir Yadav, Kadambari Kadam

Directed by: Gajendra Ahire

Rating: ****(4 stars)

The horrific act is not shown. Not because  the director the very prolific GajendraAhire, wants to cover up the sordid act to appease family audiences. Nothing of the sort! By blanking out the actual act,  the  narrative acquires a strength of projection that would have otherwise been denied   to this fine but flawed  film.

Flaws, this work has in  plenty. While the sense of wounded betrayal is felt strongly by little Chinni and the audience ,we never get a sense of what makes  the monster Mama’s world so infallible. Is it just police apathy and insensitivity,  of which there is ample illustration  in the  plot?

After little Chinni’s sister Manda(Kadamabari Kadam) discovers  the ghastly truth  about  her baby-sister’s violation  and once  Chinni grows up   into   probing searching  adulthood(Mugdha Chapekar) the narrative begins to get heavyhanded ,stilted and melodramatic.

The build-up to the child’s molestion is supremely  smooth. Ahire uses background music and the beautiful Maharsahtrian  countryside sparingly, eloquently. Repeated shots of Raghuvir Yadav cycling down a mountain-kissed pathway tend to prettify the proceedings  more than required. Also, the film packs in too many ideas on sexual violation for the central idea of the little girls violation by her own uncle  , tends to be diluted.

Whatever the  blemishes in this brave and often powerful film, the central idea is resoundingly well-executed  by the two central  performances. Filmmaker NagarajManjule instils a slimy diabolism  to his part. He is the embodiment evil,hurling belt blows on his wife,  thrashing Raghuvir yadav.

Manjule’s wife is played by the very accomplished  Anjali Patil. Playing the slimeball’s submissive wife who probably wonders when the next blow will come,Patil lets her eyes  do most  of the talking.Her interaction with the grownupChinni(Vedashree Mahajan)  in prison has visuals of Patil looking skywards as  though  to question why we do what we do in life and why some are served only disappointments in  life.

That’s what we should be  doing. Looking skywards.It’s not every day that we get  an actor of  Anjali Patil’s creativity regurgitating the truisms of life on the most basic level. Or a film that dares to stick its  neck out and face the powerful winds of shame  that  a rape  victim brings on  herself and those around.

Not  that the film is  bereft  of all flaws. There are many shortcomings. RahuvirYadav  insists on   speaking in Hindi to everyone in the movie. This seems  to have been been done to let Yadav remain  verbally unhampered. The Silence is not a film which you would forget  in  a  hurry. The little girl’s guilty eyes will follow your nights and  vitiate  your days.

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