Friday, June 16, 2017

Review: PHULLU

I'd rather suffer Endometriosis...

½ star

Mini Review:

Phullu is the village idiot, or is he? He helps his mother make quilts by bringing rags from the local tailors, buys things for village women, but does not want to leave the village and find a job. When he figures out that women have periods and that they cannot afford sanitary napkins, he attempts to make them himself, earning derision and hatred at the cost of everything…

Main Review:

When you’re living in a country where basic necessities for women - in this instance, sanitary pads - are highly taxed and cannot be afforded by more than 70% of the population, a film that creates awareness is a good thing. But when it comes to delivering the message in a film, it had better be hard-hitting and on point, instead of this rambling story of a ‘Phullu’ or the idiot.

Phullu lives with his mum and his sister and when he goes to the city to get leftover fabric from tailors for the quilts his mother makes, he also brings back packages for women of the village. Packages first wrapped in newspapers and then in black plastic bags. He does not know what they are and the women don’t explain anything either.

Of course he’s bringing back sanitary pads for the women, and only few women seem to afford it. And there is a lot of taboo involved with periods. Men are told it’s a woman’s disease, women are asked to stay in a corner in their homes, women aren’t allowed to enter holy shrines and much more. When he starts asking questions, he’s laughed at and even beaten up for being nosy about ‘women’s business’.

He is married off by his mum (what ghastly, loud, overacting!) in the hope that the wife will make Phullu go away to the city to find a job. He just ends up staying in, making love to his wife. When his wife seems to get a vaginal infection, he begins his obsessive quest to make affordable sanitary napkins. He gets beaten up, has to sell his cell phone, live on biscuits and tea, gets beaten up again until he finds a job at the factory that makes sanitary napkins. He works there, trying to understand the process. He even brings back material he could make those at home, but who will try them? The women of the village beat him up…

The narrative is rambling and tedious, so the already tough social service message becomes tedious and boring even. Plus when the protagonist is the ‘fool’ then the film actually undermines the work being done by so many people in making sanitary napkins and teaching rural women to use them instead of the unhygienic rags.

(this review appears on nowrunning dot com)


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