In a week of grand releases, Umesh Bist‘s ‘Pagglait‘ is not likely to grab many eyeballs. But for viewers who looking for some subtle comedy amidst all the heavy action and filmy drama, this is the perfect movie. Pagglait, much like ‘Ramprasad Ki Terhvi‘ that released earlier this year, is set within the period of 13 days when the family mourns the death of one of its members. In this case, it’s Astik Giri, the son and earning member of the Giri family, whose death leaves his widow and our protagonist Sandhya (Sanya Malhotra) in a lurch. You see, Sandhya is not mourning like the other widows. She is barely upset at the loss of her husband, much less bereaved with anguish. This is because she feels like she never really knew her husband to feel a sense of loss. While they were married, the couple was fairly estranged emotionally. Leading up to his terhvi, Sandhya’s whole life turns upside down – from learning about her husband’s ex-girlfriend to meeting her, to marriage proposals and declarations of love. How she navigates these challenges while having a voice of her own makes up for the rest of the story.
Not too funny, never too dramatic, just 100% real
While the premise of Pagglait might have you believe that this film is an out-and-out comedy, the reality is quite different. Sure, Pagglait is funny is parts, especially because some supporting characters have good comic timing, but overall, this is a drama. It doesn’t get too filmy even in the context of a funeral and remains true to itself. But does that mean it’s not entertaining? Certainly not. Pagglait has an interesting story that draws you in and you want to know how things pan out for its main character, because the story revolves around her. You don’t want to sympathize with her but you do relate to her. Sanya Malhotra is very comfortable in her role and absorbs Sandhya’s feelings whole-heartedly. She holds her own in this large and highly talented cast without outshining anyone.
Raghubir Yadav and Jameel Khan stand out
If we had to pick our top favorite supporting characters, it has got to be Raghubir Yadav as the family patriarch and Jameel Khan as the comical uncle. While the former’s comic timing is unmatchable, the latter embodies one of the best-written characters in the film. Raghubir Yadav performs effortlessly and it’s always a joy to watch him on screen. We wish we could have seen more of Jameel Khan whose facial expressions were as funny as his dialogues. Meanwhile, Sheeba Chadha is our new favorite Bollywood ‘mother’ and Sayani Gupta’s character stands out as well.
Feminism draped in an unexpected friendship
The fact that Sandhya goes on to take charge of her own life definitely makes Pagglait a feminist film but what really warmed our hearts was the her relationship with Aakansha. Bollywood (and society) loves to pit women against women and how Sandhya is taken with her late husband ex-girlfriend in an unobsessive manner is handled well in the film. They also strike a great friendship that comes without any baggage despite there being a lot. We can only hope other writers take cue from this well-written pair and give us more real female friendships in this film industry.
WATCH OR NOT:
Pagglait makes for a fun Friday-night watch with family and/or friends. Its subtle comedy is neither too filmy nor too boring but gives you just the right amount of entertainment. You can also watch it in the background while doing other stuff without missing anything pertinent.