Film: “G Kutta Se”; Writer-Director: Rahul Dahiya; Cast: Rajveer Singh, Neha Chauhan, Nitin Pandit, Rashmi Singh Somvanshi; Rating: ****1/2
There are some films that seduce us with starkness. “G Kutta Se” in Haryanvi and Hindi is not one of them.
This extraordinary film derives its unhampered persuasive powers not from posturing but from ripping apart all our perceptions of what cinema is and should be, by entering the nervous system of a patriarchal community where women are still not given the right to choose their partners.
And even if they are, this is a right men can snatch away at will.
Sex, says debutant writer-director Rahul Dahiya, is used in gender-challenged societies to negotiate the spaces that divide men from women and to bring the women to heel, preferably spiked.
On more than one occasion, a man is seen forcing himself on a woman arguing she has nothing to lose if she has sex with him.
The women’s will is not just secondary, it is often non-existent. This stunning piece of cinematic invention opens with a man groping a sleeping woman and masturbating… Save your shocked responses for later. As we move ahead through Dahiya’s crime-infested morally degenerate badlands at the Delhi border, the narrative is unsparing in its brutality.
The harsh merciless hinterland generates the worst kind of patriarchal prejudice and violence, as one young borderline-antisocial man Virender (Rajveer Singh) grapples with the turbulent inner world of bias mixed with a dash of modern liberalism.
Eventually, though, Virender becomes that bigoted radical automaton we see all around us, slaughtering human beings and their morale for suspected disrespect of cows, heckling young couples in the park, appointing themselves as judge and executioners of our social order.
There is an ongoing rush of urgent subtexts coursing through the veins of this virile film. But there is so much happening on the surface, we can get to what lies underneath only after we stop gawking in stunned silence at the visuals that director Dahiya has accumulated in an onrush of barbaric brilliance.
Be warned. “G Kutta Se” is not an easy film to watch. The camera (Sachin Singh) moves like a seething predator through the rugged landscape combing hearts and loins for signs of fugitive compassion. This fuming film stomps resolutely on all our cinematic perceptions to give us a fresh imminent and extremely disconcerting view of reality at the grassroots level.
A young girl Diksha (Vibha Tyagi), who is a hapless victim of an MMS scandal, is brutally murdered by her parents. A girl Kiran (Neha Chauhan) who dares to fall in love with a man of her choice (Nitin Pandit, brilliant) is dragged out of a hotel room while eloping and brutally humiliated on the street by the police, and a married woman who has run away with her lover is almost gang raped in a moving car.
The inevitability with which one catastrophic illustration of societal psychosis is heaped on another could have made this an unbearably top heavy film.
Dahiya succeeds in making every episode seem so real and palpable, you will get the feeling of being there, though you would often wish you weren’t.
“G Kutta Se” takes an unflinching, long and hard look at tradition-sanctioned violence against women making it one of the darkest films in living memory.
The narrative moves restlessly through a series of events that seem unrelated initially, but come together finally in a damning indictment of a social order that sanctions a negotiable space for a woman’s sexuality, but does not allow her to be an equal participant with the male in the process of negotiation.
This is not a film with easy solutions to age-old problems of gender discrimination. Nor does it offer us the comfort of neat cinematic solutions.
Its sexual frankness and an unrelenting view of the residual violence of ‘real India’ make us wince and squirm and often wish we were some place else.
If only there was a better place to run off to.