S Durga, initially and rather controversially titled Sexy Durga is an experimental attempt by Sanal Kumar Sasidharan. The highlight of the movie is that it has no screenplay and everything you watch on screen is spontaneous. Produced by Aruna Mathew and Shaji Mathew under the banner, Niv Art Movies, S Durga has no star cast to boast of, but a line up of newcomers and Rajshri Deshpande, who are perfect at what they are assigned to do.
S Durga revolves around Kabeer (Kannan Nayar) and North Indian immigrant Durga (Rajshri Deshpande), who are planning to elope in the middle of the night. Their destination is the railway station and they, unfortunately, choose the rural road, without knowing what’s in store for them. Their attempts to find a ride to the station introduces us to two mysterious men, whose intentions don’t seem right. The rest of the movie is about Durga and Kabeer’s efforts to escape from them and the traps and scary scenarios they get embroiled in.
S Durga is raw and stark
Sanal Kumar Sasidharan is known for his realistic approach to filmmaking and he does not fail this time either. With no prior screenplay or dialogues, he successfully manages to portray the raw and realistic side of life. Parallel to the journey of the character, Durga, he depicts the fervent side to devotion, through Garudan Thookam and other rituals offered as a homage to Goddess Kali, while showing man’s contradictory behavior towards women. Though there is a subtle comparison of Goddess Durga and a woman with the same name, you don’t see any other similarities or metaphors that would connect the titular name to the movie.
Technically strong and effective
Cinematographer Prathap Joseph does quite a good job with long uncut takes and also by capturing the nightlife using street lights. There is no background score because this is real life. But Basil Joseph’s loud metal song takes you on a roller coaster of emotions. Each and every actor is spectacular with in terms of humor, expressions, and dialogue delivery.
WATCH OR NOT
For Indie movie lovers, S Durga will be a treat to watch. This definitely is not for the weak-hearted as it is going to haunt you for a while, but if you are up for some rawness and no-nonsense drama, S Durga should be your pick.
Director: Sanal Kumar Sasidharan
Cast: Rajshri Deshpande, Kannan Nayar
Streaming on: Mubi