Devi Movie Review: Worshipped as a goddess but also subjected to the most heinous crime of all, Rape. Starring Kajol, Shruti Haasan, Neha Dhupia, Mukta Barve and a few more, Devi narrates the story of a group of women, women from different walks of life but bonded by one thing, that is, they have been raped. The gut-wrenching 13 minutes tale is women telling women stories and if this doesn’t hit you hard enough, what will?
Cast: Kajol, Shruti Haasan, Neha Dhupia, Neena Kulkarni, Mukta Barve, Yashaswini Dayama, Sandhya Mhatre and Rama Joshi.
Available on: YouTube
What’s Devi About?
A room decorated with lace curtains, dark colours, rustic furniture and pretty lamps has almost 15 women sitting on different spots in it. They all are rape victims. The television in the room informs that there has been one more case and the doorbell ring. Another addition in the already flooding room makes some of them insecure who start deciding who will have to leave if they allow the one on the door in. Devi talks about the brutal crime in a fictional set-up and the last frame is enough to leave you shattered.
Addressing the elephant in the room first. Devi has been accused of plagiarism by a film student from Delhi. Now, I have not seen his short film titled FOUR, so I am not the judge to see who’s right. This review without any comparison is solely about Priyanka Banerjee’s content only.
The film opens to a room touched by the old world charm with the women sitting in it. A urban girl with a bottle of alcohol by her side (Shruti Haasan), A lady dressed in a suit looking career-oriented (Neha Dhupia), a group of Marathi rural ladies engrossed in their card game (including Neena Kulkarni), an aspiring medical student with her coat on (Shivani Raghuvansi), a burqa-clad lady waxing her legs (Mukta Barve), a mute girl trying hard to make the TV work (Yashaswani Dayam) and the last one who seems to be the glue between this unexpected clique, who believes in god while the rest don’t (Kajol). The diverse set up instantly hits you that this is fictional and honestly metaphorical. Why are so diverse women together? What has bought them here? Why is there tension in the air?
Priyanka Banerjee, who has been credited as the writer and the director answers all of the above questions in the 13 minutes that she takes you on a tour with Devi.
Devi is about a conversation that has never included the ones who have suffered. Here it is not the world talking about the women who have suffered through rape, it is the women themselves discussing their shattering episodes.
When the bell rings we see all women talking about what happened with them, the situation, who their predator was, how they were killed, (yes, this is heaven people, and the ladies cannot take away what happened with them on the other side of the world as well). As they recall, one question that each one has on her face is ‘what was her fault?’ and you cannot escape the haunting gaze.
Priyanka tells us different stories of suffering in 13 minutes and puts the mirror in front of the audience to see what all we have been giving a blind eye to.
Acting performances by all the ladies are up to the mark and worth the time.
What’s Doesn’t Work:
Devi is overweighed by its messaging (I am not blaming) and one cannot really observe the flaws since the tension in the air won’t let one. While the big reveal, in the end, is heartbreaking, it is not totally unpredictable. The dialogues though are clever to keep the big reveal hidden, they are not armed to hide the pores which give out hints.
Devi Movie Review: Last Words:
More than anything, Devi is important, important for us to see what women feel, what have we as humans done to them, how a bright life that might have illuminated the world was turned off. If nothing, this Kajol and the ensemble starrer will initiate the conversation that will also include the ones who have suffered and that is what is needed. Watch It!
Devi Movie Review: Star Rating: 4 stars!