Well, weekends in Singapore definitely mean one thing - movie marathon! So as usual I was browsing through the Google videos (I sorta dun like the way its posted in You Tube - you know..the movie coming in 12 or 13 parts of 10 minutes each - and terrible video quality at that! Hmmm..yeah, I should probably buy more CDs n DVDs - but if I were to do so every single weekend, I'll be bankrupt before I'm 21!!)

And I came across this movie - Provoked. I'm usually a sucker for any movie with a good message and decent enough screenplay! So when I read a review for this one, the woman chauvinist in me was roaring - and I thought, This one I gotta see!

Well, for those of you who haven't seen it yet (It was released in 2006), this is a movie based on the true life story of a Punjabi woman - Kiranjit Ahluwalia. She gets married to this man - Deepak Ahluwalia - who is her sister's, brother-in-law's friend, based in London. Though she hardly knows him, she gives up her dreams of studying,working and being independent and marries him and moves to London. He appears really caring at the beginning but soon reveals his true colours. Domestic violence, spousal rape and extra-marital affairs continue even after 10 years of having 2 children with him.

One night after a particularly unnerving experience, Kiranjit succumbs to her fears. She burns him alive and before succumbing to his burns, he accuses her of attempting to murder him. She is arrested and despite the extensive evidence of bruises on her body indicating abuse, she is found guilty of 1st degree murder - because the last incident took place a full 2 hours before she burnt him - which meant that the provocation clause was inapplicable as she killed him in cold blood.

Sentenced to life imprisonment, Kiranjit finds her freedom in the prison (This beautiful one-liner made the entire movie worth the watch!) and is happy, though her only complaints are with regards to her 2 children. Here, Southall Black Sisters, an NGO which fights for women subject to domestic abuse, aids her in her appeal and after 3 1/2 years, she reunites with her children.

The story was pretty brilliant - and to think of it as a true story of an Indian woman about 18 years back makes it super. Aishwarya Rai as Kiranjit gave a very convincing performance - which is saying something because I've never liked her acting so far, except perhaps in Guru. Nandita Das, the brilliant actress for whom I've seen many a movie, as usual chooses a very meaningful role. But her enthusiasm at certain times was too artificial and it somehow didn't portray the depth and strength of her character. Nevertheless, the movie is worth a watch - at least to appreciate and applaud the strength of women like Kiranjit Ahluwalia.

There were several subtle but powerful messages sent through the movie! For instance, in one scene a member of the NGO jokes that the Government never trusts an organization which claims to work for a cause alone and calls itself a non-profit organization! Then there is a line at the end which says that based on Kiranjit's case the 'wife-battering syndrome' and 'provocation' clauses were included in the British judicial system! And many more subtle dialogues which made me like the movie a lot! Ultimately, how Kiran gets to escape life-imprisonment and manages a 3 1/2 year punishment - was also quite ironic and sorta brilliant! Overall I guess, I really enjoyed watching this movie!

There are so many organizations which promote women empowerment in India today! I know for a fact that Pushpa, who helps around the domestic chores in my house, attends her Lady's Club meeting every Wednesday! They teach her to weave, stitch and a lot of other things which empower her to be independent to a certain extent! My mom always gives her Wednesday evenings off so that she can attend their meetings on time - these are small little ways in which we can help - and we all should.


Unknown said...

Seen the movie. Infact, I thought of writing about it in my blog, but then, I will just link to your article, because it summarizes my thoughts as well about the movie!
And btw, to evolve and improve one must be able to think 'differently'!!! :-))To sucessful evolution!!

Archun said...

hehe..thatz so sweet of you!! :-) Any other naice movies you recently saw?

Unknown said...

Joke Falls - Kannada movie!!! :-) Super dooper comedy!

Unknown said...

I am now Provoked! :)

Unknown said...

Wow my template dippi kaapi! :D

Archun said...

hehe..yeah! I noticed it luks much neater! :-) danku

Ramya Shankar said...

Ditto I felt about Nandita Das. After strong roles, this one seemed a little too I-still-act kind of a role !

Ramya Shankar said...

Template is a lot neat. But I'd like to see some color in your little place on the net ! :)

Confused Soul said...

I liked Aishwarya in this movie too, after Guru and Hum Dil de chuke sanam.. She portrayed the feelings of Kiranjit so well.. be it fear or the sense of freedom and self-dignity..

Archun said...

ohh! now that u mention it, I also feel the nearly complete absence of colour! will try n incorporate some! :) thanks for the suggestion!

yeah..shez definitely improved as an actress :)

archana said...

wow.. I should watch this one. The last movie I saw ash rai in was Mistress of Spices, and she wasn't exactly very convincing in that. (Talking to sesame seeds?!) Must watch this. Good review! It's been ages since I came to your blog! I shall catch up soon :)