Cast: Pooja Pandey, Vineeth Kumar Singh
Director: Manish Mundra
Rating: 2.5 stars (Out of 5)
What’s to not applaud in Siya, movie producer Manish Mundra’s directorial debut? On the face of it, it hits all the suitable buttons and makes a good fist of shining a lightweight on the terribly treacherous path that rape survivors on this nation should tread in pursuit of justice.
It is noteworthy that Siya steers properly away from sensationalism and opts for a studied, near-observational mode of storytelling. However, on the flip aspect, the movie’s passive tone seems at instances to be at variance with its intensely emotive theme. It actually can’t be faulted for intent however not to mention calling a spade a spade, Siya appears to cut back it to a trowel.
The incident of surprising sexual violence round which the movie revolves happens off-camera. The brutalization of a 17-year-old lady is revealed through fragmentary flashbacks (these stream out of the assertion she makes in court docket). Graphic particulars of the gang rape are assiduously averted.
The movie focusses squarely on the psychological and bodily misery that the lady suffers, aggravated by the various hurdles that forestall immediate punishment for the perpetrators.
Siya tells a narrative that’s as a lot concerning the lady on the receiving finish of a system bent upon denying her justice as concerning the vicious males who maintain the reins of energy and openly misuse it, the venal policeman who’re all too keen to be manipulated by their political bosses and a compromised prison justice system riddled with difficult-to-plug loopholes.
Given the urgent issues that it’s out to articulate, Siya mustn’t have gone mistaken. It does due to what it decides to maintain outdoors the purview of the account of a woman’s resolve to battle those that wronged her.
Mundra, producer of such critically acclaimed impartial Hindi movies as Masaan and Newton, adopts exceedingly restrained, even cautious and considerably sanitised, means to depict the uncooked actuality of a lawless village the place may is correct. Siya does underline in daring reduction that the political strongmen aren’t solely in cahoots with people who flout the legislation at will, however that also they are typically one and the identical.
Siya has its coronary heart in the suitable place. It is the thoughts that appears a tad off. By refraining from mentioning names and revealing the affiliations of the politician concerned within the appalling acts of omission and fee that push the gang rape survivor to the wall, the movie hollows out the story of the important specifics that may have lent it infinitely better efficiency.
The Siya script opts for protected generality, which is conscionable maybe solely to the extent that it’s an indisputable fact that no single political formation might be held accountable for the shortage of girls’s security in India’s largest state. It is a collective failure of governance and policing.
Siya situates the plot in a small UP village. It seems (at the very least tangentially) to be impressed by true occasions that passed off in Unnao in 2017 and concerned a ruling social gathering politician and a woman of the very same age as that of the protagonist. It is, subsequently, disappointing that the movie doesn’t allude to the poisonous tradition of impunity that has taken roots on this nation of late what with troll armies hurling abuse and threats at girls day in and day trip on social media and getting away with it.
That aside, Siya shies away from touching upon the caste issue within the relationship between the offender and the oppressed in components of India the place the previous are a legislation unto themselves, particularly if their supporters shout the ‘proper’ slogans – which, sadly, are manner too many for us to be complacent.
Siya doesn’t level to the long-entrenched social divide that disempowers those that are on the mistaken aspect of it nor does it search to direct our consideration to Uttar Pradesh’s worsening report within the matter of crimes dedicated towards girls and to the utter disregard that the state’s rulers have for the rights of segments of the inhabitants that don’t have the facility to hit again.
In Siya, the eponymous character (Pooja Pandey), hounded by two politically linked boys, needs to flee her small city. On her strategy to the bus cease in the future, she is waylaid by the stalkers. Kept in captivity for a number of days, she emerges from the ordeal bruised scarred and emotionally scarred.
A small-time lawyer Mahendra (Vineet Kumar Singh), visiting his hometown from Delhi, decides to take up cudgels on behalf of Siya because the lady resolves to not enable the rapists to go scot-free.
One of the criminals additionally occurs to be a part of the coterie of the omnipotent native legislator who has his sights set on changing into a parliamentarian. The man can’t let a scandal scuttle his political plans. He unleashes his goons led by his youthful brother to browbeat Siya and Mahendra into withdrawing the case.
A canopy-up is tried, so the lady throws warning to the wind and wages a gutsy battle. But since Siya is not a traditional Hindi movie hinging on revenge, the result of the battle by no means strays from the believable. That is the place the writer-director scores.
Mundra additionally does properly with the casting and with the best way through which he makes use of his actors. Working with a forged that has a solitary recognized face – Vineet Kumar Singh in a supporting however vital function – Mundra extracts a slew of efficient performances.
Vineet Kumar Singh is not precisely stretched by the function he performs however he’s all the time is keenly conscious of what’s anticipated of him. The affect of the story depends closely on Pooja Pandey. She does properly to stays targeted on the clearly outlined vary of her portrayal – from the traumatized to the resolute.
If solely Siya had dared to play it much less protected, it might have been a veritable hammer blow of a movie. It takes what is barely half a swing at its goal. Its space of affect is therefore decidedly restricted. Siya makes a mark all proper nevertheless it leaves no dent.