Language : Gujarati.
Director : Abhishek Shah.
Writers : Prateek Gupta (screenplay), Saumya Joshi (additional screenplay & dialogue), Abhishek Shah(screenplay).
Cast : Shraddha Dangar, Jayesh More, Tejal Panchasara.
Genre : Drama
Streaming on MXPlayer.
“You can’t leave the house, and you can’t fly. If you have wings, please cut them off since it will harm you more if I chop them off.”
“Sinners are not punished. If they were, there wouldn’t be so many men in the world,”
These dialogue sequences pretty much sum up what Hellaro and the next 120 mins are going to be. The film is a tribute to women who defy patriarchy, casteism, and blind faith. Hellaro is a powerful Gujrati folklore becoming a pure cinematic and socially significant classic. The film may be unsettling for those unaware or ignorant of the concerns that Hellaro seeks to bring to light.
The story takes place in 1975 in Kutch, where the rains haven’t come in over three years, and Manjri, a newly married, educated girl (the only one among the other twelve illiterate twelve), discovers that she has been thrust into this village where she is merely a toy to be played with. Her life is reduced to a bleak existence between four walls, where she isn’t expected to have any dreams or even desires. Every night, the men in the village perform Garba to appease the goddess for a bountiful rainfall while the women stay at home. The only hope for company and joy is when the women go to a nearby lake to collect the water. A chance encounter with a dhol player changes their lives forever.
Hellaro might be an out-and-out art film, but it perfectly fits into the framework of a good movie as well- It tells a good story and entertains the audience while also bringing up essential topics that need to be addressed.
Verdict – 6/7 stars
First-ever Gujarati Film to win Best Feature Film (Golden Lotus) in 66th National Film Awards.