Verdict: An attempt to expose the caste system
Chauranga closes with certain stats about the number of Dalits who are raped and murdered every day. Those numbers aren’t just that; they quantify the sad reality that plagues our country even today.
The film is a story of two Dalit brothers. The younger brother, Santu (Soham Maitra) is the protagonist who wants to break free from the entrenches of his village’s ridiculous traditions. He wants education. He wants freedom. And he wants to be able to love without being bound by caste. Santu’s mother, Dhaniya (Tannishtha Chatterjee) works for the zamindar, Dhaval (Sanjay Suri) and Santu’s brother, Bajrangi (Riddhi Sen) goes to a school in another village that the zamindar pays for. It is a favor against his mother’s time.
Set in rural Bihar, where the zamindari and caste system seem to form the order of the day, this village suffers from pre-independence struggles. Dalits are still considered untouchables and eating together is completely out of the question. Dalit lives do not matter and forms the premise of the film. When a young Dalit boy accidentally steps into the temple premise, he is pushed into a well. No one cares for his life. High-caste born can run amok and aren’t punished. They are allowed to be unruly, barbaric and lech at women without facing any consequences. Discrimination coupled with harsh punishment for flouting rules make some scenes uncomfortable.
The film also shows the discrimination against women. Zamindar‘s wife, Nidhi (Arpita Pal) is a woman stuck in an unhappy marriage and his daughter, Mona (Ena Saha) is rebuked for going to school. Santu’s mother has to face the world alone to make sure her sons get educated. Chauranga is rustic. It deals with many issues and it does so in an unmediated manner without any add-ons.
The actors do a fine job. Soham Maitra impresses with his innocence and acting skills. Tannishtha Chatterjee and Sanjay Suri are brilliant. Anshuman Jha as Raghu and Dhritiman Chatterjee as the blind pandit also impress.
The film has been shot well and manages to highlight crucial issues. Even though it is director Bikas Ranjan Mishra’s debut film, he has done an impressive job. While the film does make a great attempt, the story leaves a lot to be expected from and drags on in parts. Chauranga attempts to expose the inequity and injustice in society and will stir-up its audience.
Why You Should Watch this Movie:
The film brings to light certain aspects of our society that we have allowed ourselves to neglect. Watch Chauranga to see the reality of the caste system in the rural pockets of our country.