Halwa is a heart-warming story about an elderly lady trapped in a loveless and volatile relationship, with only the bare walls to listen to her woes.
The main character, Sujata, played by Vee Kumari, exposes the dangers of becoming completely isolated from loved ones and distant companions. This was a tragic tale which enticed the audience from the offset, allowing the viewer to witness the connection between two friends who have not spoken or seen each other in over 30 years.
A very simple story and created in a simple way too. It seemed it was only shot in one location which was the couple’s home. However, this allowed the audience to really immerse themselves within this isolated household and see everything from the main character’s own perspective. Barely permitted to leave her home, Sujata was trapped in a prison enforced by her husband, with only the cleaning and cooking to entertain herself. Her husband, Dr. Chopra (Asit Kumar Vyas), had a very small amount of dialogue but this did not deter him from creating a menacing and domineering persona. It was Dr. Chopra who subjected his innocent wife to violence whenever he pleased, even making her doubt her own sanity and senses with manipulative behaviour and punishments. Although his dialogue was extremely limited, his entire performance was brilliantly convincing and every time he entered any room, he was powerful enough to own every person and everything in that space.
What made the story of Halwa so engaging was the desire for the audience to see the main character have a glimmer of happiness in her life. It was a great way to push the storyline forward and allowed the audience to become truly invested within the character’s situation. It was an inspiring story which highlighted the struggles of those living in a violent and oppressive relationship; as well as showcasing the importance of true friendships which can seem like the only light when everything feels so dark.
A well conveyed performance by Vee Kumari. She produced a gentle aura about her and you could see the strength of this character grow stronger as the film progressed. As Sujata stood up against the brutalities of her husband, she finally revealed to the world his aggressive ways and chose not to cover up the marks left by his controlling hand. This was an extraordinary ending which was utterly mesmerising. Her strength was at its fullest at this point, as she finally decided to stand against her husband’s unforgiving behaviour.
A great watch all in all! It was an extremely moving tale which, although simple in plot, location and shots still managed to grip the viewer from start to finish. The purpose of the film and the central themes of friendship and strength really helped launched this short towards a 5 star rating and made for a pleasing view, satisfying all of the senses.