Duvidha was the movie I was looking for ever since I watched Shahrukh Khan-Rani Mukherji starred Paheli. Paheli was remake of Duvidha by Mr. Amol Palekar. I found story of Paheli unique and got curious about the story source. I have made up my mind that I have penchant for stories where ghosts are treated like regular people. I loved Lekin, where the guy falls in love with a ghost and this movie where a ghost falls in love with a woman. The term inter-faith relationship becomes really profound here, I feel.
Not just the ghostly part, but I thought Paheli had a gutsy storyline. It was more amusing that it was based on a movie made during 70’s. Furthermore, the 70’s movie was based on a folklore. This tells that people of all times have ability to comprehend, accept, and carry forward nonconformist stories those that don’t sync with ancient social customs.
I was disillusioned while watching Duvidha. It is an experimental movie. The story is narrated rather than performed. The narration consists of voice-overs for the thought-process/ monologues of the lead characters. This style was probably adapted because the lead actress, Raisa Padamsee, is half french and couldn’t speak Hindi. It kind of works for her, and only her, to portray a voiceless village woman. Despite my expectation falling, I thought the movie can be viewed as an uncorrupted testimony to vintage North Indian village life – the house architecture, the ethnic wears (nothing glossy or glamorous about it), the celebration of life events with folk songs etc.
It was the Mehendi design on hands of newly-wed bride that caught my attention amidst this canvas of antique rural life elements. I got nostalgic viewing the orange colored Mehendi. It is the color you get if you only crush Henna/Mehendi leaves without adding any other coloring agents. It transported me to childhood days when we plucked Mehendi leaves from the wild plantation near the fences and coarsely crushed it with whatever means available. It was never a fine paste like what we get in Mehendi cones today and adding more ingredients to it was out of question for a fun activity!
Though I was pleased to see the genuine orange color, I was taken aback by the design. It was such a shabby work. A simple blob of crushed Mehendi that we kids put in the center of our palms looked more thoughtful than this. It almost feels like coloring palms with Mehendi during celebrations was more ritualistic exercise than about art or beautifying effect of it.
I’m curious. Were Mehendi designs such a hasty work because it is a rural household? Actually, as you can see in the pictures, the painted hands look alright if you aren’t deep into design patterns.
Unlike Paheli, climax of Duvidha isn’t happy one. Although, it is more convincing end of the story than Paheli. I watched Duvidha on Amazon Prime. It is also available on YouTube but the print quality is better on Amazon. Watch it as a tale of a period, you cannot turn this time wheel now – for better or worse!