Review: 'Sharmajee Ki Beti' is the only kind of 'feminist' story you need to see, enjoy & celebrate
This film might be having a theatrical release soon, and I urge you not to miss out on this warm fuzzball while being evolved a little more.
Published: Sunday,Nov 05, 2023 06:45 AM GMT-07:00
Sharmajee Ki Beti
Women telling women's stories will always be something special. Even if it doesn't hit the bullseye, it still churns out a side that can only happen by the ones who have been through those experiences in one form or another. Thus, debutant director Tahira Kashyap Khurrana has churned out a sheer delight in the form of Sharmajee Ki Beti that boasts of an alluring ensemble cast in the form of Sakshi Tanwar, Divya Dutta, and Saiyami Kher in lead roles. This is the only kind of 'feminist' story you need over and above other sagas. Having had the chance to see the film at the Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival 2023, here's what I thought about it-
Hilarious, Soft, Adorable & Warm
It isn't that Kashyap Khurrana isn't tackling the heavier subjects, but throughout its runtime and, in general, its treatment, Sharmajee Ki Beti is deliberately lighter and mostly adopts humor as a tool to convey its story. But to be able to crack situations that are funny but not forced and over-the-top is a rare feat to achieve, which this film does with ease.
A teenager literally dreading not having had periods yet, an overworked but efficient mother losing her daughter's respect, an aspiring cricketer always being marked for not being 'girly', and a homemaker who is lonely owing to not having any attention from her husband - these parallel stories have delightful ways of conveying a message and is done so with precision and absolute conviction. The thread that ties all of them together is also a thin one but enough to have the characters meet each other once in a while in the developing storyline.
The two adjectives that immediately struck my mind watching Sharmajee Ki Beti were - 'adorable' and 'warm'. There is such a gentle way in which Kashyap Khurrana has etched out these characters and directed the actors that you are in that world with them feeling every intended emotion. You laugh with them, you cry with them, you feel their pain, you feel their agony, but most importantly, you love them for what they are.
The Performances & The Overarching Message
Another conscious call taken by Kashyap Khurrana is not to villainise any character even though their decisions and words might make you feel that. It is never said or conveyed that 'men suck' or 'men are the problem' but instead chooses to focus on giving nuggets on the ingrained patriarchy that not just men but women are accustomed to living with as well. And to convey this, Kashyap Khurrana has assembled some of the finest talents to offer. Sakshi Tanwar proves again what a formidable actor she is, while Sharib Hashmi, it seems, plays a version of himself - the sweetest and the most supportive husband one can aspire to have. The teenagers, actors Vanshika Tapadia and Arista Mehta, are absolutely phenomenal and are the beating heart of the film in every possible way. However, the standout of the cast has to be Divya Dutta. Three decades into acting, Dutta is still able to deliver a nuanced and scintillating portrayal like that of Kiran Sharma. I cried I laughed, I vouched for Kiran all the time and wanted a woman like her to be my best friend. The climax sequence between her and her ex-husband had me wanting to give her a warm hug.
And that's exactly what the film feels like. The overarching message of the film isn't to convey a happy ending or break age-old notions in a jiffy but just to remind you to love, respect and treat women equally and deservedly.
Sharmajee Ki Beti's inclusion of the track featuring Saiyami Kher is understandable and connects on a few instances but is probably the weakest, even more so due to a rather stiff performance from Kher. Nevertheless, the film is an incredibly solid debut directorial debut for Kashyap Khurrana as she shines with her writing and vision, almost making you feel like she's a veteran. This film might be having a theatrical release soon, and I urge you not to miss out on this warm fuzzball while being evolved a little more.
Rating - **** (4/5)