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Videsh Movie Review

March 27, 2009

Videsh is a film about domestic violence. However there is a deeper meaning to the movie. The director (Deepa Mehta) attempts to show that even the most vulnerable people can summon up an inner strength to fight injustice, and that violence need not always beget violence. To explore this idea Mehta uses a metaphor from Indian mythology, that of the Shesh Nag, a powerful serpent God. Girish Karnad has already explored this idea in his play Naga Mandalam, and the movie seems to be inspired by this play… The setting, a tacky overcrowded lower-middle-class Indian home in Canada where the thin walls afford no privacy, and where a cruel and possessive “mother” has a vice-like grip over her son and in fact the whole household, brings out the sickeningly claustrophobic atmosphere which borders on the evil.

Read the rest of the review here.

Related Reading: Firaaq movie review

8 Comments leave one →
  1. March 27, 2009 10:57 pm

    TOI has given it 2 stars. After reading your and their review, I must say that I don’t think including superstitions and folklore/myths in a movie dealing with such an important issue was a good idea at all. At least not Deepa Mehta’s style!! And I thought of watching it but the myth part and finding strength in a snake wont go down well with me, so I dropped the idea.

    • March 28, 2009 7:09 am

      Reema, the way I saw it the serpent God, the Cobra is what represented her inner strengths. He was a symbol of that. But yeah I know what you mean. The way Mehta handled it was very clumsy and the whole thing actually seemed more ridiculous than anything! I had to see the movie as I was reviewing it for someone and well, I don’t regret it, but I doubt that I would have seen it otherwise.

  2. March 28, 2009 5:45 am

    Unfortunately this movie has not touched the south Indian soil. Will watch it as a CD comes along.

    Keep Blogging!

  3. March 28, 2009 2:29 pm

    geee lots of movies are coming on some vry serious and grave issues…

    wonder where are the genuine comedies.. !

  4. March 28, 2009 10:42 pm

    haven’t seen the film but can actually relate to finding solace in some animal. besides, isn’t both history and literature replete with such examples? prisoners and rats, robert the bruce and a spider. besides, domestic violence isn’t easy to swallow minus metaphors. sometime ago, i wrote a piece which had none but people either assumed it was metaphorical or else decided that it was too gory to read.

  5. Conrad Barwa permalink
    March 29, 2009 4:10 pm

    Look forward to seeing the film but I agree with the comments about the unsuitability of the Shesh Nag metaphor; it seems to be a way of just reinforcing the status quo for the Zinta character and we all know that traditional interpretations of culture, religion etc. have not been kind towards women. Given Mehta’s background, I wouldn’t immediately criticise it, but it comes uncomfortably close to endorsing a sort of fatalism on behalf of the woman.

    Still great to see movies have moved on from some of the awful fare we had in the past; I still cringe when I think of films like “Pati Parmeshwar” that I saw growing up which were just misogynistic really in their adovacy of what a woman should put up with in marriage.

  6. March 30, 2009 12:52 pm

    I wanted to watch the movie… sounds good.. though the snake is kind of a put off!

    Not good to mix superstition and a social issue. We already have enough issues on that front. I do not know what many people might perceive also..

  7. April 8, 2009 2:00 am

    Its sad that sometime the purpose of cinema is completely lost in serving some other purpose. This is the case with this film. It sucked big time, there are plenty of better “social cinema” some are even made by the director.

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