I saw Nalu Pennungal today. Before I forget a lot of the film, here’s some random impressions:
- In the first short the way Kunzhupennu is sexy without makeup and wearing that nadan dress has to be seen to be believed. The swagger in the way she walks is uber cool. Her husband’s helpless refrain “We are husband and wife” when faced with the judge’s questions is probably one the most poignant scenes in the movie.
- The first and last segments made the most impression on me. Nandita Das is superb and the way that story ends does tickle your brain.
- Chinnu Amma and Kanyaka I found amusing, esp. the scenes where the husband swallows whole bucketfuls of rice. There’s also a scene in Kanyaka where she tries to make an overture and he dismisses her by saying it’s too hot. Her riposte then is beautiful. Chinnu Amma’s plight is again darkly humorous especially the very last scene (which I almost missed) where she as an old woman recites her story to younger ladies.
I took the shorts as they came to me and didn’t think about any connecting thread then. Looking back, one thing which is perhaps common is that all the stories are about women who did the ‘right thing’ and somehow is punished because of it. Kunzhupennu who found a husband but is still branded a prostitute, Kanyaka who married but didn’t find happiness, Chinnu Amma who sacrificed progeny for being faithful, and the eternal virgin who sacrificed for her sister and so couldn’t marry. And still that punishment isn’t so severe that they aren’t able to lead a semi-normal life or as in the case of Chinnu Amma, look back upon the incident with a bit of humor.
It’s a good movie. Not a must watch, but it does make you think.