On the surface, Natkhat might look like a short film that speaks about gender equality but if you get to its core, it gives away a life-lesson to the entire human race about ‘how to live and let live’ without preaching. That’s the beauty of it. I will put it in the category of Rajkummar Rao’s short film, ‘Uss Din’ – thought-provoking and impactful!
If you watch it attentively, you will find many direct and indirect messages in the film. While some are said, some are unsaid, left to the audience to interpret. I am afraid that not many will be able to decode the symbolic messages and hence a lot of ‘important learnings’ that we, as an audience, should engrave in our minds and heart, will be missed.
For the ones who have watched this short film and the ones who will watch it in the coming days, note when and how did marks of assault start to appear on Vidya Balan’s face. It all begins after Vidya’s son, Sonu says something at home that he shouldn’t have even known at his age. And it all stops the day Sonu starts to understand the difference between right and wrong. Understand how, on both sides, the woman is at the receiving end of pain, hurt, and violence (physical and emotional). May she be the mother who just recognised the monster that her son has become or the woman who is always afraid of falling prey to this monster.
We are never told why the Mother is being regularly hit and why it is worsening every other day. But when asked, she says that she might be paying for her son’s mistakes.
This particular part of the story, where Vidya Balan is shown as a victim of domestic violence made me ask many questions, which are very intelligently left unanswered in the movie. Why? Because it is the viewer who should answer it for himself/herself. Was the couple using abuse to teach their son a lesson who was turning abusive towards women? If not, then why did all of it stop the day their son realised his mistake?
Then there is another point of view here. There is one scene in the film where Vidya is being hit by her husband; she is screaming and her mother-in-law is peacefully sleeping in the neighbouring room. Since the film loudly speaks about gender equality, women too are being asked to speak for other women. Just like we hold men responsible for a woman’s ordeal, women should be held responsible too. Not because they support patriarchy, but at times, they accept patriarchy and expect other women to do so by not raising their voice.
If we consider this to be the take-away, then the message here is for women viewers – to stand up for yourself. To stop abuse or end any kind of inequality, women need to fight against it – not a few or in large numbers, but all of us – together!
What I loved the most about Natkhat is how, at the same time, another message has been given loud and clear (only if you care to understand) –
TEACH YOUR SON HOW TO TREAT A WOMAN,
NOT WHEN HE GROWS UP BUT RIGHT WHEN HE IS GROWING UP
Verdict? Go watch Natkhat now on Voot. It’s worth it!
P.S: A special mention to the Director, Shaan Vyas and the writers – again, Shaan Vyas and Annukampa Harsh for handling such a sensitive topic so brilliantly, especially because it revolved around kids. Full marks to brave writing and thoughtful, smart execution of a complex story.
Streaming On: Voot