Widow of Silence Movie Review: A rare cinematic triumph

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Widow of Silence movie review is here. The winner of best film at Kolkata International Film Festival, 2018 and Best film award in Competition at IFFLA, Los Angeles, 2019 is streaming on MUBI from 14th June 2020. The Indian drama film directed, written, and produced by Praveen Morchhale stars Ajay Chourey, Shilpi Marwaha, Bilal Ahmad, and Noorjahan.

Immediate reaction when the end credits roll
Silent but empoweringly powerful Praveen Morchhale’s Urdu language indie is a rare cinematic achievement.

Widow of Silence

The Story of Widow of Silence
Aasiya (Shilpi Marwaha) is a young trainee nurse staying in a Kashmiri village with a young daughter (Noorjahan) and an ailing mother-in-law. Her husband went missing seven years ago, and after numerous futile visits to the police station, she now wants to get on with her own life. For this she desperately needs a death certificate from the local registrar (Ajay Chourey), a corrupt government official who has no qualms about exploiting women who line up outside his office every day. What happens next.

Widow of Silence movie review

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Praveen Morchhale’s third feature after the two gems, Walking with the Wind and Barefoot to Goa, is a cinema based on observation. A true indie having a distinct flavour that like his previous movies showcases the ability of a common individual in favourable and unfavourable conditions. Opening with a meta of Aasiya’s mute and semi-paralyzed mother-in-law tied up to a chair getting her morning tea. The movie lyrically establishes the plight of such innumerable Kashmiri women whose husbands have disappeared.

Shot in the picturesque landscape of Kashmir with non-professional actors like cheerful taxi driver, Bilal who plays himself. In this Urdu-language drama set amidst the Kashmir turmoil, exposes the shred, cruel mindset of government bureaucrats, misogynist attitudes, and gender bias.

Bilal jovial nature acts as a contrast and a relief from the troubled surroundings of Kashmir. Hard hitting dialogues like ‘I am staying in hell’ by Aasiya underlines the pain and suffering of a determined, pious soul like Aasiya in the ‘jannat’ (paradise) called Kashmir.

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Morchhale’s Widow of Silence is also a are triumph of women empowerment, the climax is stunning.

Performance
Delhi film and theatre actress Shilpi Marwaha is superbly strong. Bilal is a joy. Ajay Chourey is wicked.

Technicalities
Mohammad Reza Jahanpanah’s cinematography is a treat for the eyes. Anthony Joseph’s editing is crisp.

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Final words
Praveen Morchhale’s Widow of Silence quietly makes the right noise of humanity, equality, and acceptance with a haunting ode to women empowerment that echoes with an instigating chorus. A must for an indie/art house aficionado.

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Critic Rating
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