By Subhash K Jha
Film: ‘Kadvi Hawa’; Director: Nila Madhab Panda; Starring: Sanjay Mishra, Ranvir Shorey, Tillotama Shome; Rating: ****
Look at what we’ve done to Mother Earth. She is no longer Mother, she is Muddle Earth heading towards Murder Earth. In director Nila Madhab Panda’s new work aptly entitled “Kadwi Hawa”, the bitter truth of ecological plunder, is wrapped in a parable about a blind restless patriarch played by Sanjay Mishra who wanders the merciless hinterland of Mahua.
Mahua and its parched dry energy-sapping water-less landscape could be in any part of the world where the water-level has fallen to almost zero, so much so that at school a little boy says there are only two seasons in his village — hot and cold.
Panda’s cameraperson Ramanuj Dutta captures the dry wasteland of a civilisation on the brink of extinction. There is a feeling of parched dread in the way the landscape is captured. And the skilfully selfeffacing Sanjay Mishra blends into the arid milieu as though born into it.
Mishra’s performance, as well as the milieu captured on camera, strike not a single false note.
For all that Mishra cares, the camera may not be trained on him at all. He doesn’t act for the camera. Come to think of it, he doesn’t act for anybody.
The same level of commitment is evident in Ranvir Shorey’s performance. He is a loan collector, the laconic family man from Orissa who is given the dirty job of recouping loan money from impoverished farmers.
The bond that grows between Mishra and Shorey is based on inequality. They both are seen as victims in a society that shames its lowest denominator only because they’ve nothing to lose.
Shorey playing Gunu Babu brings bouts of good natured smiles to a milieu that ekes out its existence from the innards of misery.
The very capable Tollotama Shome puts in a credible performance as Hedu’s (Mishra) caring daughter-in-law.
But the film and its moistureless milieu is owned by Mishra. Watch him caress the parched ground in a gesture of unmitigated grief towards the end of the film.
“Kadvi Hawa” is a timely relevant warning for mankind to stop being unkind to Earth.
Mishra in his skimpy dhoti epitomizes the grievous isolation of an individual who is way too proud to take help, financial or otherwise, from any institution or individual.
Standing stooped in his pride, Mishra proves himself quite the calendar boy for abject poverty. This film must not be missed by any global citizen.
If you insist on watching “Justice League” this week you mustn’t regret having missed out one of the most thought-provoking and exhausting and yet finally exceedingly rewarding film.