Devi short film review: Kajol’s short film debut hits the right nerves
3 March, 2020 | newsx bureau
Devi is a short film directed by the debutant Priyanka Banerjee and features an all-female cast of Kajol Devgan, Shruti Haasan, Neena Kulkarni, Neha Dhupia, Mukta Barve, Sandhya Mhatre, Rama Joshi,...
Devi: The short film directed by the debutant Priyanka Banerjee with an all-female cast of Kajol Devgan, Shruti Haasan, Neena Kulkarni, Neha Dhupia, Mukta Barve, Sandhya Mhatre, Rama Joshi, Shivani Raghuvanshi, and Yashaswini Dayama is a film that deals with the very relevant issue of increasing rape cases in India, with the subtext of women not empathizing with the struggles other women, and the class difference.
The film does a great job of establishing the characters just through their costumes and staging in the frame, Devi boasts of powerful writing that is at full display in a scene when Kajol’s character Jyoti a god-fearing lady instructs everyone, not to fight after she has lit the incense (Dhoop Batti) only to be shot down by Sandhya Mhatre’s character who questions her reasons to light the incense and says there is no god here.
While the film is backed with Yash Sahai’s powerful background score and great performances by the entire cast and by the veteran actor Neena Kulkarni in particular.
Devi is shot in a single room and gives a slice into the life of women who ended up there after being raped and killed, film’s central conflict is the increasing population of women in that room, which can be seen as a metaphor for the rape victims who still haven’t got judicial justice and have their cases pending in courts, which is underlined by the text that appears before the credits start rolling.
Devi opens with a sequence of shots that allow the viewers to identify all the characters in the room where they are indulged in their daily routines until a news story catches everyone’s attention, the news announces that another girl has been raped, which creates tension among the characters regarding whether to let another victim inside or not, as it is getting crowded in the room which ensues a conversation among the characters, that is primarily exposition but is woven into dialogues making it intriguing and while effectively revealing about the characters and the horrific stories of how they were raped and killed.
The conversation is carried on for a while to build for the eventual reveal of the new girl in the room, making the characters in the room uncomfortable, and viewers watching shamefully question the morality of society.
The film manages to tackle multiple issues in its 11 minutes of runtime touching upon the serious topics of domestic abuse, insensitive treatment of mental health, women being married off to older men by their parents, and pedophilia, offering a mirror to the society whose morality is degrading with each passing day.
Devi has a slow pace that allows the story and messaging of the film to sink in with the audience, However, its incapability to have longer shots and its overdoing of the close-up shot becomes distracting and very repetitive, especially towards the end.
In its entirety, the film is socially relevant and effectively translates its message and must be watched by everyone as it is available for free on Youtube and has mere runtime of 11 minutes.