(Neena Kulkarni in Shevri)
Neena Kulkarni’s debue production, directed by Gajendra Ahire, Saint Tukaram best international film award winner, Shevri is arguably one of the best made marathi movies. Problems of women in Indian society, is not a new theme for Indian cinema. Shevri is yet another but memorable addition to the list. This movie does not give any message or propose any solution to the problem of women, yet it gives viewers a close picture of the life and suffering of a divorced woman.
Vidya (Neena Kulkarni) is a middle-aged divorced woman working in Mumbai sharing a room with Maya (Mita Vasishta). One night she is forced to stay on the streets of Mumbai. The movie captures just this night, her experiences and memories haunting her through out this night. Dark memories of her broken marriage, apathetic relatives, encounters with opportunistic men, her loneliness and her deep concern for her teen age son who is mature enough to seek independence but not enough to understand her are well shown in this movie.
Maya, an emotional single who keeps using sexual attraction as a means of keeping her boyfriends in the relationship and as a consequence getting abused is realistic and well acted by Mita Vasishta. Shinde, (Dilip Prabhavalkar), a weird looking clerk, touches the viewers deep in the end. Ravindra Mankani has acted well in a small role of Vidya’s abusive husband though the character looks slightly unrealistic. Neena Kulkarni and Dilip PrabhavaLkar’s acting is praiseworthy.
Good background music with meaningful lyrics heighten the effect of many scenes especially, “aata te hi urale nasel ka?”, at the time of Vidya’s departure from her husband.
One more prominent aspect of this movie, is excellent non-linear story telling using flashback. Though initially it makes this movie appear disorganized, Vidya’s mental world view gets brilliantly portrayed.
Like most movies dealing with problems of women, even this movie suffers from feministic paranoiac world view. Though, treatment of woman as an object of sexual exploitation by certain sections of the society could not be denied, most movies portray it as the only experience a woman gets in the society (eg- Lajja, Not only Mrs. Raut). Though shevri is far too balanced than most of the contemporary movies on the same subject, to some extent even this movie suffers from the same feministic bias especially in the first half of the movie. Still, it is undoubtedly a ‘must watch’, piece of art!