Natkhat Movie Review: Vidya Balan’s contemplative take on patriarchy leaves a profound impression

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Natkhat (The Brat) movie review is here. Vidya Balan’s latest movie marks her entry as a producer. Natkhat had just held its world premiere at the ongoing online Mumbai Film Festival – ‘We Are One: A Global Film Festival’ on Youtube today.

Immediate reaction when the end credits roll

Vidya Balan’s short movie Natkhat on patriarchy, machismo conveys large lessons of gender equality and more…

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The Story of Natkhat

One evening, seven-year-old Sonu (Sanika Patel) casually alludes to a ghastly act that he committed in school. Horrified and determined to correct his course, his doting mother Surekha (Vidya Balan) decides that she won’t let him go down the same path as the other machismo-obsessed men in his family. Through her bedtime stories, she teaches Sonu the true virtue of equality.

Natkhat movie review

Debutant writer – director Shaan Vyas (who has previously produced movies like Kshay, Dear Dad, Zubaan, Masaan etc), attempts the theme of gender equality and comments on the male patriarchy and false machismo with a story within a story. Annukampa Harsh and Shaan Vyas screenwriting create an instigating marriage between realisms and escapism. The 33 min Natkhat turns disturbing, tragic, innocent, coming of age, and a life lesson. The writing and narration keep unfolding the scenarios that we have in our households. The mindset, the mentality passed as legacy where we differentiate between a boy and a girl. When the seven-year-old Sonu (beautifully natural – Sanika Patel) advices his father, grandfather, and elder brother to abduct the ‘female’ who is creating problems then the ghooghat clad mother Surekha (Vidya Balan) is shocked in disbelieve. Grandfather takes it lightly and says, “boys will be boys”. This is where things start in every household. Right from the beginning, the prejudice, the divide is planted on children making them bully their sisters and later beat or abuse their wife’s. Mothers have remained silent and watched the rerun of their own story with new faces so males may not be the ones to be blamed entirely.

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Vidya Balan as the ghooghat clad bahu, the bruised mother is an undeniable picture of the state of women in many households. The actress outstandingly portrays the cycle of abuse, violence with grace.

Good support comes from Raj Arjun as the husband and Atul Tiwari as the grandfather.

However, despite all its relevant and startling reminders, Natkhat makes compromises.

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First of all, it deserved to be a full-length feature and second, the transformation of the son should have been stronger.

Final words

Still, Natkhat is a little gem, the Vidya Balan starrer short proves that the most local story is sometimes the most universal. A state of tranquillity today is an utopian dream, but the movie makes a sincere attempt in narrowing the gap and helps us in understanding the women in our house. As it all begins from home. Going with a generous 4 an extra for Vidya Balan.

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Critic Rating
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