Director: Tahira Kashyap Khurrana
Cast: Sakshi Tanwar, Divya Dutta, Saiyami Kher, Vanshika Taparia, Arista Mehta, Sharib Hashmi, Parvin Dabas, Ravjeet Singh, Sushant Ghadge
Rating: 4 stars
Written and directed by Tahira Kashyap Khurrana, Sharmajee Ki Beti gets the message across loud and clear, despite its disarming charm. The film is the antidote to countless sorry exercises and sermons on empowering women that carry standard templates. Whether it’s film or OTT, we’ve witnessed several pieces of content that hold the tunnel gaze at portraying empowered women as those who curse like sailors and are constantly shown to be smoking-drinking-cheating shrews. The failure to understand and comprehend that there are many common women out there dealing with relatable circumstances but are waiting to be seen and acknowledged in their immediate confines, is where Sharmajee Ki Beti seizes the opportunity to deliver a strikingly, beautiful film. It’s that rare film that looks at the glory of womanhood across all age groups.
Bound by a common surname, the film is about common Indian women divided by age and their situations. School friends Swati (Vanshika Taparia) and Gurveen (Arista Mehta) are dealing with puberty and trying to understand the pressures of their teen years. Swati is resentful towards her career-oriented mother Jyoti (a charming Sakshi Tanwar) as she is unable to attend to her child and pay heed to her concerns, despite being supported by a caring father Sudhir (Sharib Hashmi). Gurveen’s mother Kiran (a scene-stealing Divya Dutta) is dealing with pangs of loneliness in a city that her Patiala self is yet to embrace. With her husband and her mother back in her hometown being emotionally unavailable for her, Kiran tries to find purpose through her love for Tambola or Housie. Her neighbour Tanvi (Saiyami Kher) is the state-level cricketer, bound to be the next big thing for the sport. But her ambition is constantly curbed by a selfish boyfriend who looks at fixing her. How these five vibrant lives find their resolve through their individual ordeals is what the film entails.
Written by Tahira, the film is peppered with humour at the most unexpected situations, you’d find yourself giggling even before the punches land. There are equally endearing moments when you’d feel a lump in your throat. Without giving away much, watch out for two crucial scenes featuring Sakshi and Divya, respectively, which will leave you feeling overwhelmed. From celebrating one's body to being unapologetic about individual choices, the film offers a lot of perspective, without throwing a shade on anything or anyone. With a run-time lesser than two hours, Antara Lahiri’s sharp editing compliments the narrative. The cinematography by Rakesh Haridas ensures a sense of light-heartedness throughout the film. The soundtrack which mostly features talents from the Indian independent music scene, perfectly enhances the plot.
While the five central ladies are outstanding in the film, a word must also be reserved for the men. Sharib, who already has had a fabulous year as Nalin Dalal in Tarla, masters the act of playing the supportive partner. Parvin Dabas plays Kiran’s husband Vinod who might seemingly come across as despicable but you feel empathic instead. Ravjeet Singh plays Tanvi’s boyfriend Rohan, an aspiring actor who cannot look beyond himself. He makes you dislike him with ease. Lastly, there is newcomer Sushant Ghadge, who plays Kiran’s house-help Chotu. He is easily equipped with the best lines in the film.
Sharmajee Ki Beti left me satiated as if I devoured a wholesome meal. Look out for its theatrical release as and when it is announced and flock the nearest cinema to you with your families, in tow.