G Kutta Se movie cast: Rajveer Singh, Neha Chauhan, Rashmi Singh Somvanshi, Nitin Pandit, Sandeep Govat, Parth Sharma
G Kutta Se movie director: Rahul Dahiya
G Kutta Se movie rating: 3 stars
Between the capital of India that is Delhi, and neighbouring Haryana, there’s barely any physical distance. But within a few kilometers, on the other side of the border, it is the dark ages. That women are to be owned, to be used and thrown at will, is something all patriarchal societies all over the world exhibit. But there’s a certain blatant crudity to that quality in a certain kind of Haryanvi conclave that is unique to the region.
G Kutta Se holds up a mirror, and the sights are not pretty. The men —a group of near-thugs who engage in carjacking, a young fellow conducting a clandestine affair with a pretty neighbor, and the most interesting character in the film, a young man ( Rajveer Singh) who is a product of his genes but is pierced by a glimmer of modernity — have sway; women have no agency.
Sex is used to subjugate, not conjugate. The women — whether it is a pubescent young girl lured into unwittingly participating in a showreel which is turned into a lurid MMS, or the girl (Neha Chauhan, seen briefly in ‘Love Sex aur Dhokha’) who tries to get away—bring up the rear.
Dahiya’s gut-wrenching debut, with its cast of non-professional actors, has an urgent docu-feature feel. It is powerful because it shows rather than tells. Because Dahiya is an insider, he doesn’t judge, nor does he let us slide down the convenient path of judgement: his characters do what they do because of centuries of conditioning.
You don’t need a Khap panchayat if you have a matriarch keeping a beady eye on the comings-and-goings of the bright-eyed college-going young woman. The old woman is on the side of the enemy not because she is intrinsically evil, but because who knows what kind of oppression she may have suffered when she came to the house as a young bride. She reacts the only way she can: with suspicion and hostility.
Dahiya pulls not one single punch, and every one of them lands where he intends. And they all hurt. The opening segment, shot at night, in which a runaway couple is accosted by a bunch of men-on-the-loose reminded me of Sanal Sashidharan’s terrific ‘Sexy Durga’. They share the same mounting terror that night-time can bring, when predators are about, to feed upon the weak.
And just when you start breathing easy, you are led straight to other horrors—a teenage girl becomes the lead act in a phone clip, the collective male leer making it pornographic, and you know that nothing good will come out of it. It doesn’t. It ends in blood and violent death. We follow the college girl’s path to love and freedom, and we see how that ends, too.
The complex notion of honour, and how women are both the repositories-and-betrayers of it, is skillfully captured. The director also catches the banter, full of lewd allusions to body parts and heavy sexual innuendo, as well as all the groping and the coupling, without a shred of titillation. That is a real achievement, and it is to be applauded.
We are left aghast and numb by turns. Yes, we’ve seen this before (Dibakar Banerjee’s LSD’, Navdeep Singh’s `NH 10’, and in the unreleased ‘Gurgaon’), but this is a subject that needs constant revision. And attention.‘G’, according to the director, means desire. The film shows, delicately and importantly, that women also have desires (we know this, and yet we ignore it, and our infantile mainstream cinema still doesn’t dare acknowledge it ), and that those impulses can sometimes have terrible consequences.
The relentlessness of it all became too much at times. The invective-filled guttural Haryanvi dialogue, authentic to the T, grates in places. And in a few places, the inexperience shows. But the rough edges work for this film. According to the filmmakers, making and getting ‘G Kutta Se’ out has been an uphill battle. It’s clear why that must have been so: backers are hard to find for unvarnished reality and uncomfortable truths. Heartening that it has found a release, because such films are needed to train a light on societal black holes.
There is no honour in that overused, awful phrase ‘honour killing’, and films which can put this into perspective and tell us where those people come from, can help shift hardened stances. It certainly isn’t easy to watch. In many places, I felt like shutting my eyes. But I couldn’t. And we shouldn’t. Because there comes a time when to see or not to see is no longer a choice. It is the only thing left to do.
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