Devi ★★★½

A short film with a strong social message with the high-profile actors ensemble.

Synopsis: The short film opens with women from various backgrounds who are confined in a room. It has representations from different classes – an upper-class chic , corporate executive in 30s, medical student, trio of middle-aged and older marathi women, young deaf-mute poor girl, a muslim burka-clad, and of course, the ubiquitous house-wife. What’s the catch? What is it that they share in common? The suspense will be revealed in the first few minutes itself but I would rather not spoil for you.

What works: This high-profile short film has a social message with an impactful climax. The climax is deeply unsettling. The performances from Neena Kulkarni and Yashaswini are particularly lively. Others also perform well. Doing justice to the assigned roles in such short duration was an amazing feat and I can’t point out any lapse from anyone in the cast. Kudos to the director and the whole team.

Also, kudos to Kajol. Having the big star in the short film is two-edged sword. The positive, it gives you an immediate publicity. The negative which happens quite often, is that the star hogs all the screen presence. Kajol in Devi, on the other hand shines not through her stardom but through her acting skills. More than the words and the star as we know her, her eyes reflect the sadness, the voice tone shows frustration at a level which is far ahead than any. Please watch and let us know of what you feel about the actors!

I highly appreciate the dialogue writing which helps such film take up such strong message without using any sensitive or abusive language. Everything in the dialogue is implicit. Enraging and saddening, but without explicit. Great work there!

Negatives: Now is the time to write negatives. Nothing major, but as I have hinted above as well, is the failure of the story to maintain the aura of suspense. In particular, there is a TV anchor who speaks in the first few scenes itself and we believe that was not necessary and gave out too much about story too early. It would be a very different feeling if the crux came out through the characters and their dialogues. Another minor thing is the soap-opera feel of the setup – it pops out as a Balaji production setup in the first look. 🙂

Overall: a good watch and I will recommend it to be watched by everyone. Men, women alike. The topic can be sensitive to young audience, but everything is implicit and hardly any abusive or sensitive words are used, so may be a PG (Parental Guidance) rating here?

AglaPlay Verdict: Worth a watch
AglaPlay Rating: 3.5/5
Language: Hindi
Duration: 12 minutes
Writer: Priyanka Banerjee
Director:  Priyanka Banerjee
Cast: Kajol (house wife), 
Shruti Hassan(chic),
Neha Dhupia (Corporate), 
Shivani Raghuvanshi (Medical Student), 
Neena Kulkarni, Rama Joshi, 
Sandhya Mhatre (three marathi women), 
Yashaswini Dayama (deaf-mute), 
Mukta Barve (Burka-clad muslim) &