QISSA – The tale of a lonely ghost..
The title says its a tale of a lonely ghost. On surface level it definitely is the story of a lonely ghost but deep down the film has tackled several issues which are deep rooted in Indian society.
Lets look at them one by one –
Patriarchy – The part where a helpless mother is not allowed to decide the gender of her child and the male of the family decides it. Even when the child is married to another girl, the mother didn’t have a say. Indian society still dominantly have males as the heads of the family and are the decision makers – be it a totally wrong decision also.
Male child Obsession – It is predominantly one of the biggest aspects of this film where the father is madly obsessed to have a male heir and he declares the gender of a female child as male. It reflects so much of our deep rooted mindsets, how much a male child is necessary as he will take care of the parents in old age and girls will go to their in laws’ houses.
Gender Identity – A child brought up as a man who is actually a woman, ends up being lost with her gender identity. The way it is induced by her father and the suffering of the child – it is so relevant to the society where people are confused about gender identity and yet forced to accept ones the society wants them as.
Execution level of the film is excellent. The way these various issues are handled along with the love blooming between the 2 lead characters which ends up in sisterly love, is par excellent. The film moves in its own pace and lingers a sadness around you. From the very start, the film starts wrapping you around with a fact that there is going to be tragedies, this story is not going to have a happy ending. But you wait till the end to see what happens to Kanwar.
Rarely Indian films have a full packed story line. Either the first half or the second half falters. But here the film never loses the thread which is fathers obsession to have a male child. And how he goes beyond the limits to achieve that – be it getting Kanwar married to a girl, be it Neeli’s rape attempt or be it the possession in the end.
Irrfan Khan takes over the character with such fine nuances that you will never realize he is not a Sikh in real. The aggression, the pain, the helplessness, the dominance – there are so many shades which he effortlessly portrays. Tilottama Shome gets a lifetime opportunity and he grabs the character from all her heart. Her body language from being a boy to a girl, her burst outs, her confusions – she portrayed everything to the T. Rasika Duggal and Tisca Chopra provides brilliant support to their respective partners and executed their characters flawlessly. Infact Rasika Duggal’s end scene displays how amazing she is when she confronts Irrfan just with her eyes.
This film might not attract commercial Indian audience despite having an Irrfan in it as the film doesn’t provide a regular Bollywood spoon feeding. It is not an easy film to watch but we need to definitely raise our bars to understand the depth of this brilliant film.
(Review by Tarun Jain)
Directed by Anup Singh Batla