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Pagglait Movie Review: A Breath of Fresh Air amidst Pandemic

Lovely Tiny Things reviews the movie Pagglait, an Indian family drama centred on a young and recent widow.

Star Cast: Sanya Malhotra, Ashutosh Rana, Sheeba Chaddha, Raghubir Yadav, Sayani Gupta, Shruti Sharma, and others.

Director: Umesh Bist

The story revolves around the Giri family, who is facing the untimely death of their family's young son. Sandhya Giri (Sanya Malhotra) who is widowed soon after marriage is unable to cry and show grief and hence family members are startled to see her 'unusual behaviour'.

The movie starts with the rituals of the funeral of Astik (Sandhya's late husband) with family mourning and grieving. Shivendra Giri (Ashutosh Rana), Astik's retired father, is shocked due to his son's untimely death and also worried about the expenses incurring in rituals. Usha (Sheeba Chaddha), Astik's mother, unlike any typical Indian mother-in-law, is worried for her daughter-in-law, Sandhya, and also weeping profoundly. On the arrival of Sandhya's parents - Girish Pandey (Bhupesh Pandya) and Alka Pandey (Natasha Rastogi) Usha (Astik's Mother) weeps deeply and ask them to please go and meet Sandhya.

When Sandhya's parents are asked to take her for a few days, Sandhya's mother, Alka Pandey (Natasha Rastogi) immediately refuses and later tells her husband that she has two more daughters at home, unmarried.

The relatives are informed about the death of Astik and gradually all the relatives start coming. Among them also comes Astik's aunt Janaki Giri aka Yamini Singh and her husband Ghanshyam ji (Jamil Khan). Ghanshyam (Jamil Khan) is a banker and knows every modern financial terms and terminology. He keeps quoting Shakespeare's words from time to time. Seeing Shivendra Giri in a worrying situation, he (Ghanshyam) calls the policy agent to learn about the life insurance status of Astik.

Now, it was a turning point for each member of the family. Surprisingly, Astik had a life insurance policy of Rs 50 lakh, for which he nominated his wife Sandhya Giri. Knowing this information from the policy agent, family members get frustrated and even surprised as they were expecting Astik's parents as life insurance nominees.

So, while compiling the paper formalities of the insurance, Sandhya learns that Astik was in love with someone else, whose name is Akansha (Sayani Gupta). Akansha was a colleague of Astik and they both were in love since their college days. After knowing this, Sandhya gets very sad and decides never to forgive Astik for his deeds because there was no love and happiness in her marriage because of this extramarital affair. But, to know more about Akansha and her relationship with Astik, she keeps meeting her. Then she realises that she herself was not the correct match for Astik and hence she decided to forgive him so that his soul can rest in peace.

On the other side, all the members of the household, except for Astik's parents, compete to grab 50 lakh rupees from Sandhya. Out of this, the distant uncle of Astik, whose name is mentioned as Tarun in the film, keeps his son's marriage proposal in front of Sandhya. Now, will Sandhya accepts this second marriage proposal wherein the boy says he 'genuinely' loves her?

The film, Pagglait, tries to break down the stereotyped figure of a widow and to much extent, it has been able to do so. Ashutosh Rana and Sheeba Chaddha have done their job commendably. They have been able to portray an image of those parents who battles the toughest grief of their life - the death of their son.

Director, Umesh Bist, has successfully managed to present both sides of the story - Sandhya's agony for Astik's betrayal and the family's tension to handle a tragic situation along with the financial one.

The Brightside of the Movie Pagglait

Sanya Malhotra was the perfect fit to depict the life of a girl who was in a loveless marriage and feels no sorrow or grief even after her husband's death. Sandhya, played by Sanya, does not present herself as a tragic figure, instead, she wants to eat chips, Gol Gappa and drink Pepsi! Even after getting Rs 50 lakh into her account as insurance money, she was calm and relaxed and kept looking for freedom. All she wanted was true love and independence. Sandhya understands that even a widow can take responsibility for her family and there is nothing wrong. In a country where a widow is treated as a liability and is not allowed to live her life on her own terms, Pagglait movie has been able to break the patriarchal thoughts. It shows that how an educated modern girl feels when stuck in an arranged marriage and stifled into an orthodox family.

"Jab ladki log akal aati hai naa, to log unhe pagglait kehte hai."

Pagglait movie is a step towards the change that encourages all women to break all boundaries which stops them to grow and progress.

Movie Ratings from Lovely Tiny Things: 4 stars out 5 (one star less for incomplete use of the other character's acting potential).

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