Rating: Two and a half stars
Author: Sandeep Singh
Director: Sandeep Singh
Cast: Meera Chopra, Abhay Verma, Barkha Bisht, Chhaya Kadam, and Jameel Khan, etc.
OTT Platform: Zee 5, from December 29
Duration: seventy minutes
Sandeep Singh is the author and director of the film
Apart from starting his career with journalism, Sandeep Singh, who was a disciple of famous filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali, has produced many films including 'Mary Kom', 'Bhoomi', 'Sarabjit', and 'PM Narendra Modi'. But for the first time as a writer, co-producer, and director, he has come up with a thought-provoking film “Safed”, which is the love story of a widow and a eunuch. In the film 'Safed', Sandeep Singh has given a very sharp statement that 'the society in which we are growing up is not growing up.' This film is being streamed on 'Zee5' from 29th December.
A love story of a widow and transgender
Section 377 (of the Indian Penal Code) may have been abolished following a Supreme Court order, but it is still difficult for the LGBTIQ community to earn respect. Even more so for transgender who are derogatorily called Hijra, Chhakka, and Gud in Indian society? This community is still not viewed with respect in the society. Whether a son or a daughter is born in someone's house, people of the Kinnar community happily dance, sing, and give blessings. But there is no happiness in his life. Their blessings are as effective as their bad wishes. This is the only feeling the common man has about eunuchs.
The story of film 'Safed' is an unconventional love story between a widow Kali (Meera Chopra) and a eunuch Chandi (Abhay Verma) in the backdrop of 1990's Varanasi. The film begins with the death scene of a eunuch, where other eunuchs curse the dead body and also hit the body with shoes. But Guru Maa (Jameel Khan) is mostly happy because now she is leading the eunuchs. There is Kinnar Chandi (Abhay Verma), who lives with Guru Maa and her associates. But he does not yet consider himself a Hijra, whose parents had handed him over to the community of these eunuchs instead of taking him with them. On the other hand, Kaali (Meera Chopra) is introduced, who has just become a widow. Despite the prevailing conditions and circumstances, Chandi refuses to live the life of a eunuch among eunuchs. While the other eunuch Radha (Barkha Bisht) loves him very much. Chandi starts living her own life with a different identity. Looking back in time since his birth, he remembers all the events and people who tortured him. Unable to bear all this anymore, he decides to die by suicide.
On the other hand, after becoming a widow, Kali feels that there is no point in living life. Thinking this, Kali wants to end her life by drowning in the Ganga. At the same time, Silver also goes neck-deep into the river Ganga and drowns. It is underwater that he meets Kali. But Silver saves him. Kali is attracted to Chadi by her thoughts and behavior and starts loving her in her heart. Chandi also has a love for Kali, but he is not able to express his love because he is a eunuch. When Kali comes to know about Chandi's true identity, her dreams are shattered. But the question is will Kali accept Chandi despite knowing her 'background' or will the two lovers part ways forever? Or is there a miracle that helps unite the lovers despite their huge differences? For this, you will have to watch the film.
This is Sandeep Singh's first film as a director, which has been able to leave its impact only in a few scenes. There are many shortcomings at the level of the script. The pace of the film is quite slow. For which the director argues that he was not making a masala film, but was evoking human emotions. But what happens to women in widow homes if Sandeep Singh asks? How do common people behave with eunuchs? The film could have been made more sensitive by showing people's reactions after seeing Kinnar Chandi and Widow Kali at the Ganga Ghat, where Sandeep Singh missed the mark. His entire focus remained on the love story of widow Kali and eunuch Chandi, but he avoided showing society's reaction to this love story. Through the dialogues of Guru Ma (Jamil Khan), Sandeep Singh expressed regret over the hypocrisy of the society. Rejected by the Gods, and embarrassed by society, many like Guru Ma depend on the poor for livelihood.
The filmmaker does not give enough time for the friendship and love of Chand aka Chandi and Kali to blossom naturally, this is the weak link of both the writer and the director. In one scene, when Chandi and Kali are inside a room in the widow's home, the way Kali drops her pallu also looks strange. But the way Kinnar Chandi is shown nervous and excited says a lot. But the next moment Kali opens the door. The director and writer did not create enough scenes to understand this relationship. Was there any scope for reunification in the widow's home in the nineties?
What is Kali's family background? Where has she come from? How did her husband die after how many days of marriage? The film remains silent on many questions. The filmmaker also did not clarify that the widow's home where Kaali is staying and how did she reach there? In one scene, Chandi tells Kali that Lord Shiva is also half woman and half man. After that, it is shown that some pundits are bathing him with milk while chanting the Mahamrityunjaya mantra, the filmmaker has failed to explain the rationale of this scene in the film.
The film was shot in 'Varanasi', but apart from Ganga Ghat, it has failed to capture other colors of Varanasi. There are a lot of abuses in the name of dialogue in the film. People of the eunuch community often speak in the language of the streets, hence, taking liberty with it, they used a lot of abuses. Whereas there is a dialogue from the film itself, 'I am human, not abusive'.
The song ‘Ghar Aaye Rang Rasiya’ of the film has become quite good. There are many flaws in film editing.
Meera Chopra plays the role of Kali in the film, who is the cousin of Priyanka Chopra and Parineeti Chopra. Meera Chopra is a much stronger actress than her cousins. She has very few dialogues in the film 'Safed', but she makes inroads into the hearts of the audience with her silence. Meera Chopra's innocence in the character of Kali is worth seeing. The simplicity with which he has played his character is commendable. In some scenes, he does not get enough help from the script. Yes! Jamil Khan's acting in the role of Guru Maa, the leader of the eunuchs, is a bit loud. Jamil Khan is not able to utilize his talent properly. He is responsible for this. Abhay Verma's acting in the role of Kinnar Chandi can also be praised. But in some scenes, he needed to work harder. His running nose is shown for extended periods in the opening and closing scenes, which makes one underestimate his acting ability. We have seen in many films that actors use such mechanisms to hide their shortcomings. So in some scenes, he shows himself to be a talented actor. Abhay Verma has failed to behave like a eunuch in many scenes, especially when he goes to Kali with Radha wearing a saree. But with such a bold character we have to appreciate his courage and conviction for choosing. Barkha Bisht leaves her mark in the role of Radha.
- Shantiswarup Tripathi
Tags : Safed Movie Review | sandeep-singh | sanjay-leela-bhansali | mary-kom