Jalpari: The Desert Mermaid trailer

Jalpari: The Desert Mermaid trailer
Release Date: 31st August 2012
Cast: Pravin Dabas, Tannishtha Chatterjee, Lehar Khan, Suhasini Mulay, Krishang Trivedi, Rajendra Gupta, Harsh Mayer, Rahul Singh
Music: Ashish Chauhan, Midival Punditz
Director: Nila Madhab Panda
Critically appreciated at Festival de Cannes 2012 and nominated at the prestigious Asia Pacific Screen Awards 2012, Nila Madhab Panda’s Jalpari: The Desert Mermaid is a film with a difference. It talks about the issues of superstition, gender inequality, male bias in favour of the male child and female foeticide that foundationally constitute much of contemporary rural northern India’s sexual and gender realities. Jalparitraces these insidious realities through the personal journeys of two children, Shreya and Sam, and their city-educated doctor father. Two dialogues from the film stand out: “Chora-chori ka fark nahin sikhaayaa hai maine apne bachhon ko” and “Profit hi hai ladki banne mein.” The film provides a chilling encounter with the bane of misogyny that makes up much of native and provincial Indian masculinity. The child actors in Jalpari evoke confidence and shine in their naturalised styles of acting. Pravin Dabas also cuts a solid figure in his role as the enlightened doctor trying to bring sense to the uneducated and misled. Overall, the film seems to be an emphatic feminist take on some of the most primordial gruesome realities that structure gender bias in the workings of the Indian society and consequently pave the way for maltreatment of girls and women in such a partisan society. In fact, it lays bare the traditional roots of such biases and calls for the boycott of these customs and traditions through some attentive, evocative and vociferous drama that intelligently brings the children’s film genre and the adult film genre together. And that undoubtedly is a cinematic feat to acknowledge and salute. We indeed hope to be bewitched.