'S Durga': Delightful, disturbing, lewd and relevant

S Durga: A delightful, disturbing, lewd, and relevant road movie

'S Durga' is not a movie that bows down to easy interpretation.  The film is disjointed and raises a lot more questions than it cares to answer.

The entire action in the movie takes place over the course of one night. It begins with a  young couple (Durga and Kabeer), apparently eloping, trying to find a vehicle to take them to the railway station.

After a long wait, when  a van finally does stop, we are introduced to two hooligans who  manage to make both the couple and the audience uncomfortable in the first few minutes. From there on, it only gets more and more torturous.

The rest of the movie is the couple's attempt to get out of the  van.  At points when they manage  to sneak out, the van somehow manages to catch up with them, and the men coerce them to get back in. The conversations inside the  van are extremely lewd and there is no dearth of expletives.  

Personal space is often sacrificed and at one point, one of the men puts his hand into her bag  while another warns him not to pull out any of her soiled panties.

The fact that  these men act as their protectors, even as their  vulgarity is increasingly apparent, gives the story a Kafka-like flavour.  

I was very skeptical about the fact that Sasidharan shot the film without a script, but what he has come out with is a masterpiece of improvisation. The conversations are extremely colloquial and natural. So much so that much of the humour in the film is lost for someone who relies on subtitles.  

The randomness and the absolute illogicality of the scenes reminds one of Fellini, nowhere more so than in the scene where  the neon lights  inside the  van get switched on, and everyone is wearing  clownish, horrifying masks.

The use of camera is very innovative. It acts just like another person who has got into the van.

However, very often,  the camera moves out the window, just to look at the road and the surroundings for a while, before it gets back in through another window.

The  pitfall of  many films on social  issues is that in order to make a point, there is a fallback on cliches of tragedy and pathos. S Durga does not do that.

While multi-layered and socially relevant, the film is a lot of fun. Even  though all the jokes in the film are cracked, unfortunately, by  characters we would be repulsed by, the film  is quite funny,  and that, more than its social relevance, hits you in the gut.

 

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