Komal, a 14-year-old student who loves playing with friends and is good in studies, is hastily married off to a 40-year-old man from Diskal village in Satara district, when she gets her menstrual cycle for the first time.
Komal’s angst, portrayed expressively by Riddhi Deshpande in the 31-minute Marathi short film Daptar (school bag), will now be showcased at the fifth Delhi International Film Festival (DIFF) from December 3 to 9.
Directed by Kailash Jadhav, the film was released in August. It was an effort by activists involved with the Lek Laadki Abhiyaan, to highlight the issue of child marriages, a glaring reality in the Marathwada region.
Varsha Deshpande, founder-member of the Lek Laadki Abhiyaan, plays the role of Komal’s grandmother and initially urges her son to get her married.
A reluctant and disillusioned Komal is married to a 40-year-old man, but she runs away on the first night and goes back home. She sobs her heart out to her grandmother, who decides to let the child stay with her and go back to school.
Even as the film speaks of the anguish of the forlorn girl who is forcibly married to a much older man, it ends on a positive note when the grandmother decides to put an end to her victimisation. She warns the sarpanch and others against interfering in the matter and sends her granddaughter back to school.
“We were thrilled when Ram Kishore Parcha, founder-president of DIFF, informed us that the film will be showcased at the fest,” said Deshpande.