Phullu: Firing on half-baked assumptions

Film: Phullu

Cast: Sharib Hashmi, Inaamulhaq, Nutan Surya, Jyoti Sethi

Director: Abhishek Saxena

Pivoted around the low-cost production of sanitary napkins to help poor women avoid infections during their menstruation, this film is basically inspired by several well publicised male efforts on that front. Director Abhishek Saxena has his central player ‘Phullu’ (Sharib Hashmi), a simple-minded do-gooder, hang on to his brain wave and persevere towards his goal even at the cost of his young pregnant wife Begni’s (Jyothi Sethi) life.

This film, in fact, plays out like an advertisement for low cost sanitary napkins and it’s quite prophetic that it’s releasing at the same time when women’s groups are petitioning the Finance Minister for a GST waiver on sanitary napkins.

Phullu’s mother (Nutan Surya) is dead set against getting her wayward, unproductive son married but the minute she hears of a young pretty suit, she is more than agreeable. Even ‘Phullu’ doesn’t want marriage to hamper his do-gooder ways but once he sets eyes on his potential bride his alacrity in changing his mind is astonishing.

The narrative, in fact, abounds in such contrariness. ‘Phullu’ doesn’t work, doesn’t earn and doesn’t take money from the village women he supports with purchases from the city and I am hard-pressed to understand where he gets his money from.

Okay, so ‘Phullu’ is a noble soul who wants to make sure the women from his village stay healthy and free from infections. But he is unable to put that point across to his village folk or family. His phony experiment to test his hand made prototype comes good but by then it’s too late.

Dr. Anmol Kapoor (credited with concept), Scriptwriter Shaheen Iqbal and director Saxena, in fact, leaves the film upended with that disappointing ending. The challenge for ‘Phullu’ was to convince the women to use the freshly designed sanitary napkin but there’s no scope to represent that in the film. As a result, the film feels incomplete and unaccomplished.

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