Reel Asian 2016: Our Review of ‘Sairat’

Posted in Festival Coverage, Movies, Reel Asian 2016 by - November 16, 2016
Reel Asian 2016: Our Review of ‘Sairat’

Clocking in at less than three hours, Nagraj Manjule’s Sairat is obviously long. It’s also as energetic as the drums beating during the film’s first scene. ‘Sairat’ in Marathi means ‘wild,’ an appropriate description for a lot of the things here. The music, some of which still rings through my head even days after I’ve seen the film. It also the describes the characters’ emotions, like the infatuation Parshant (Akash Thosar) has with Acrhana (Rinku Ragjuru). The feelings young Parshant has with Archana is common. But he’s lower caste and she’s upper caste. And it’s a distinction that matters in rural India.

The first obstacle against their love is Archana or Archie. A fantasy version of Archie exists in Parshant’s head but the real Archie carries herself like any upper caste girl. Archie is aware that the whole small town belongs to her and makes sure everyone knows it. She kicks people out of public spaces at will, but Sairat lets her realize that Parshant is equally headstrong. Ragjuru performs her transition from snob to relenting lover like a person experiencing these feelings for the first time. And I say this in the best way, she exudes the suppleness and innocence of youth.

There’s the Beast vs. Gaston dynamic between Parshant and the men in Archie’s family. Parshant acts like any boy who has yet to understand the responsibility of loving someone. But Archie realizes the entitlement that her family has towards the other townspeople. Both Parshant and Archie learn this harsh lesson during a house party. The music blasts, the kids are being kids, yet they feel the consequences when her father Patil (Suresh Vishwakarma) catches them kissing. That’s the clincher that makes us want to endure with them the roller coaster of love that Sairat shows with brutal honesty.

Sairat screens tomorrow at the Isabel Bader Theatre at 7PM.

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While Paolo Kagaoan is not taking long walks in shrubbed areas, he occasionally watch movies and write about them. His credentials are as follows: he has a double major in English and Art History. This means that, for example, he will gush at the art direction in the Amityville house and will want to live there, which is a terrible idea because that house has ghosts. Follow him @paolokagaoan on Instagram but not while you’re working.