Verdict: An emotional explosive with a hard-hitting message.

Originally to be released on the 10th of August, Sachin Gupta’s Pakhi finally hits theatres today. Gupta, a theatre director, has been doing shows on social issues for about 15 years in London and Canada. Unfortunately, his brain-child Pakhi that addresses the issue of child trafficking in India was met with a lot of resistance from the CBFC board. After a lot of cuts, the movie is finally out and it already has a curious buzz around it.

What’s Pakhi About

Starring Sunmeet Kant Kaul as Bali and Anamika Shukla as Pakhi, the movie revolves around an arrogant and obnoxious flesh trader, for whom all women come with a price tag. When Pakhi is sold to him by her boyfriend, she soon realizes that there is no way to escape the horrors of Bali’s trade. She soon becomes his ally and starts assisting him. Nonetheless, the grit and the gumption to free herself from the brothel bondage never leaves her heart. As time passes, a little girl of 10 years joins the women. As soon as she was sold to Bali by her uncle, she was pushed on to sex-hungry men who’re ready to pay a premium for her puberty. The ignominy reaches its peak when Bali decides to marry the little girl to a 60-year-old man in exchange for money and power. Pakhi first assists Bali in this mission but as time passes, she is unable to see the pain and torture of the little girl. Thus Pakhi hatches a plan to once and for all end Bali’s hellish existence.

What Works

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Based on a harrowing true story, Pakhi is disturbing yet thought-provoking. Although it has been told with heartbreaking detail, it is only because the script demands it. The narrative is raw and ruthlessly realistic and forces the audience to think and re-think about the social demons that plague our society. The story makes your heart bleed and the end salutes the spirit of triumph and freedom, which is quite endearing to watch. Pakhi is the hero of the movie as she finally puts an end to the atrocities faced by her and her companions. This is quite hopeful considering that the plot lacks even an iota of it. Anamika Shukla does justice to her role even in the face of a difficult performance.

What Could’ve Been Better

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The repetitive gut-wrenching scenes of sexual exploitation layered with lewd dialogues tend to get insensitive after a point and could have been toned down. The amount of shouting that the film carries is also overbearing at times.

Why You Should Watch

With India’s surging actions on women’s rights and its interest in suppressing the violence inflicted on women, Pakhi exposes a true albeit unfortunate reality of a part of the society that has still not escaped the clutches of oppression. Although boorish in places, the movie is moving, bold and resonates emotionally. It depicts how child sex trafficking is still a major issue that needs immediate attention. Above all, Pakhi is intentionally audacious and if nothing else, then this undoubtedly makes it a one-time watch.