Kadvi Hawa movie review: This haunting tale of farmer suicides will give you goosebumps
Director: Nila Madhab Panda
Cast: Sanjai Mishra, Tillotama Shaome, Ranvir Shorey
Darkly humorous and searing, Kadvi Hawa is a film that will stay with you. The burden of loan on farmers, the shockingly high rate of them committing suicide to escape it all and parents who cannot even manage two square meals for their children -- the Nila Madhab Panda film is populated by people who live on the periphery of the world as we know it. The film lets them break out of the newspaper headlines -- rare as they are -- and enter our conscience. And once they do that, they refuse to leave.
Based in a Bundelkhand village where it hasn’t rained for 15 years, Kadvi Hawa is the story of a blind, old man (played by Sanjai Mishra), who lives in the fear of his son, Mukund (essayed by Bhupesh Singh) committing suicide in the face of back-breaking debt.
His personal Yamdoot is Gunu Babu (Ranvir Shorey),a loan recovery agent who visits the village annually. “Tum jab bhi yahan aate ho 4-5 logo ki zindagi saath le ke jaate ho,” Sanjai tells Ranvir, explaining to us why the agent has earned the tag of ‘God of Death’. However, Gunu Babu is not as black as the villagers think , he is battling his personal demons too. After losing his father and house to the cyclone in Odisha, he wants to earn enough commission and bring his family away from the flood-prone village. His choice of place for resettling his family is ironical -- he wants to live in Sanjai’s village because it gets no rain.
Ranvir and Sanjai enter into an unholy alliance to save their families. The old man provides vital information about the farmers to help the loan recovery agent extract maximum money from them. In return, the commission Sanjai gets from Ranveer is credited to his son’s account.
The film traces whether the deal helps the protagonists in saving their families or it destroys them altogether.
Nila Madhab Panda of I Am Kalam fame is known for his documentaries that address environmental problems. His feature films have often addressed environmental and social issues - while Kaun Kitne Paani Mein tackled water scarcity, Jalpari highlighted female foeticide. And with Kadvi Hawa, he takes on the larger issue of climate change and its staggering human cost.
It is not just Nila’s story that talks of the “dark winds” or kadvi hawa, the film uses the cinematography and camera to highlight the scorching heat that climate change has brought to the famine-hit regions of our country.
Sanjai Mishra is in a fine form and his performance will scare you, just as he intended. He blends the wisdom of an old man, the helplessness of a poor farmer and the body language of a blind man to deliver a performance that is arguably his best. Ranvir and Tillotama, too, are the perfect fit for their respective characters.
Though Kadvi Hawa is touted as a film on climate change, it talks as much about farmers’ suicide in draught and flood-hit areas of our country. Despair is writ large on the faces of people who are struggling against the fury of nature and an unsympathetic system demanding its pound of flesh.
Nila also offers dark humour in his serious film but the movie, especially the climax sequence, will give you with goosebumps and it will make you think.
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