Bijuka: SXSW Reviews

The film follows the story of a newlywed couple during their short time together. Lalli (Arti Rautela) is told she must obey and take care of her new husband and in-laws above anyone or anything else. Painku (Amit Purohit) talks with his friends about all his supposed conquests. When their first night together arrives, Painku shows no physical interest in Lalli. That continues night after night while Lalli is treated like the family’s slave who can do nothing right. After some time, she tries to seduce him but is only called names and abused for her actions. Lalli decides not to go back and remain with her family, which leads them to trouble with the law.

 BIJUKA

The film does suffer from a seemingly low budget and a very traditional history which is partially lost on American audiences. No nudity is shown yet rape is filmed very crudely. The pace is slow and it takes a good half an hour (almost half the total run time) to find its purpose.

Nonetheless, the acting is believable as is the overall story. It is done in a simplistic pattern which makes the story easy to follow hence creating sympathetic characters. The overall tone of the film is that of exposition and its goal, as mentioned, is achieved. Unfortunately, by the end, the viewer is likely more traumatized by the ending than actually caring about the rape issue in India. It’s not easy to pinpoint quite what could have pushed the film to a higher level of efficiency, but its honesty is very bold. This is not a film suitable for general audiences though its impact is hard to deny.