Movie Review of Pagglait: a Social Drama with a Message

We all have heard so much about the Bollywood film industry being one of the largest film industries in the world, the most vibrant and yet only 1 of the many linguistic film industries that we have in India today.

With so many new movies releasing every month, the newest one on the charts that will steal your heart away is Pagglait, now streaming on Netflix. It truly sheds light on a commonly experienced tragedy that could happen to any woman in India.

This movie directed by Umesh Bist has given us another inspirational story after the movie ‘Queen’. The cast of the movie is Sanya Malhotra as the lead protagonist Sandhya Giri, Sayani Gupta as Aakansha, Sheeba Chaddha as Usha Giri, Astik’s Mother, Ashutosh Rana as Shivnedra Giri, Astik’s father – the story mostly revolves around them. To all the millennials reading this, it is an entertaining film that you can watch with your family around.

In a country like India where rituals and blind faiths have taken over the mind, we follow that if a woman dies ‘sumangli’ then she is considered blessed. It is believed that a woman will have hardships in life if she is a widow but she is good if she dies as a married woman. The custom of Sati and practices like shaving a widow’s head and asking her to wear only white had been abolished long back. A widow is still considered as an unwanted member in the family of the in-laws as well as her own family. She apparently becomes ‘inauspicious’ post the death of her husband.

Pagglait in that sense is a disruptive film. A husband of a young woman has died with everyone crying and preparing for his last rights. The wife is lying on the bed and scrolling through Facebook.

Similar to the social issues that the movie Queen targeted, where a heroine discovers her wedding being called off by her fiancé, this movie too has shown us that a tragedy is the best thing to have happened to the female lead protagonist, Sandhya. Through the reels of Pagglait, we watch her discover how enthralling her life can be without having a husband and the taking on the sweet ride of adventure.

At the same time, it is endearing to see Sandhya take up a job so that she can take care of her in-laws, something that Indian soaps and movies don’t glorify often. The movie targets a paradoxical social issue that providing for the elders of the family is not just a son’s responsibility, a daughter-in-law can also be an equal member – something which Indian joint families are yet to acknowledge for the most part.

My heart felt a strange sense of satisfaction after watching the movie. Watching how Sandhya overcame the fear within herself and fought against all odds to get a job for the first time, tiptoed on the path of independence rather than being known as someone’s widow and finding the light at the end of the tunnel was inspiring yet entertaining at the same time. To me, the movie’s beauty lay in simple scenes of the cinematic reel where Sandhya talks to her grandmother, cares for her and pours her heart out to her despite the generation gap.

I would give the movie a 4/5 rating, especially for all the quirky and funny anecdotes and the bonds Sandhya nurtures.

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