Kaanchli Life In A Slough movie review: Raw, bold & probing

KAANCHLI LIFE IN A SLOUGH movie review is here. Released today – February 07, 2020, the movie stars Sanjay Mishra, Shikha Malhotra, Lalit Parimoo and Nareshpal Singh Chauhan. Directed by Dedipya Joshii, the movie is based on a story by the famous writer from Rajasthan – Vijaydan Detha. Does the movie provides justice to the fine work by Late Vijaydan Detha, let’s find out in the movie review of KAANCHLI LIFE IN A SLOUGH

Immediate reaction when the end credits roll
Vijaydan Detha’s gem of an idea – Kaanchli may not be at par with the earlier silver screen adaptations of his stories like DUVIDHA by Mani Kaul, which was later remade as PAHELI by Amol Palekar starring SRK, Habeeb Tanveer’s CHARANDAS CHOR, or PARINATI by Prakash Jha but certainly it has the potential of a sensual out of the box entertainer with an ode to women liberalization.

The Story of KAANCHLI LIFE IN A SLOUGH
Somewhere in Rajasthan a local cowherd Kishnu (Nareshpal Singh Chouhan) gets married to the immensely beautiful Kajri (Shikha Malhotra). The Thakur of the village played by Lalit Parimoo is struggling to maintain his ‘royalty’ and can barely afford the salary of two of his servants. Still the said royal aristocratic indulgence signifying machismo of having the best of wine and women is deeply rooted in Thakur. He hears stories about Kajri’s beauty and his lust for her begins. Thakur’s man Friday the shrewd, cunning Bhoja (Sanjay Mishra) gets the assigned to win Kajri for the Thakur.

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Kajri is loyal to her husband and she thwarts the advances made by Thakur. Now it’s left to Bhoja to get the job done for Thakur. Things take unexpected turns when Bhoja falls for Kajri and starts making advances for himself which Kajri smartly refutes teasingly making Bhoja getting caught red handed in front of her husband Kishnu. But, Kishnu who is suppressed by the power of Thakur and his gratitude towards him overlooks the bad intentions of Bhoja and gets convinced in whatever reason he gives for his unwanted presence. Kajri is stunned by her husband’s behavior and finds herself trapped in a slough. Torn between fidelity towards her husband and his insensibility towards her trauma caused by the greedy Thakur and Bhoja, Kajiri has to make a decision and take a stand.

KAANCHLI LIFE IN A SLOUGH movie review
The best part of Dedipya Joshii’s adaptation to Vijaydan Detha aka Bijji’s beautiful gem KAANCHLI in the movie is that the core idea of a snake shedding its skin gets established. The phenomenon symbolically juxtaposes with the plight of Kajri a married woman letting off her skin of fidelity and charmed by the extra-marital carnal desire in order to get a new strong identity comes through.

It’s a comment on the gender discrimination, the male chauvinist approach and the dominance of the rich over the power. Vijaydan Detha’s stories have that fairy tale Rajasthani folklore flavor that worships the regions art and music and here the milieu at least in the dialogues is raw and real.

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Sanjai Mishra is marvelous and Shikha Malhotra oozes that raw sensuality and does very well. Nareshpal Singh Chouhan, is alright and Lalit Parimoo is passable.

Music by Nishant Kamal Vyas & Shivang Upadhyay blends well with the narrative and is dipped in the local flavor.

The problem lies in the scripting of this potential time bomb of an idea that fails to get the decisive sweep. There is a raw sensuality in Kajri but somehow the makers are stuck in showcasing her cleavage very often. They might have having the look of Zeenat Aman in SATYAM SHIVAM SUNDARAM in their mind but it wasn,t required. The core idea itself sends the message. The climax is stunning, strong and it would have been controversial if KAANCHLI LIFE IN A SLOUGH would have been a project of a big production house and more popular actress.

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For a fraction of a second KAANCHLI LIFE IN A SLOUGH reminds of Aruna Raje’s RIHAEE in its feel and debate on the sexuality of women in rural areas and master filmmaker Giuseppe Tornatore’s MALENA (the aura created by a women’s exceptional beauty in town). But just for a second. Kajri is said to be exceptionally beautiful but not established as the talk of the village and desire of every man.

The use of English was completely unnecessary and there is hardly any layer in Dedipya Joshii’s story telling. Plus there is no dimension to the character of Thakur and Kishnu. The metaphor of Bhoja speaking to a parrot (alter ego) is not that convincing.

The dialogues in Rajasthani accent must have been subtitled.

Final words
KAANCHLI LIFE IN A SLOUGH is based on the gem of an idea by Vijaydan Detha. The onscreen adaptation is not that winning but undeniably Dedipya Joshii manages to keep the heart in the right place.

The movie has a presence and identity, it’s not run of the mill and showcases some raw talent. I sincerely wished that Kajri’s inner life her soul could have been given as much exposure, importance as her outer charms.

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Critic Rating

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