Disturbingly absorbing cinema that invests on the dangers and ominous warnings of science twined with an impassioned moral take, KADVI HAWA by I AM KALAM fame Nila Madhab Panda is frightening and by the same time compelling in its message on the effects of man-made cataclysm powered by a knock out performance by Sanjay Mishra.
The movie which received special mention at the 64th National Film Awards and is the Official Selection for the Indian Panorama Section of the 48th International Film Festival of India (IFFI), 2017, KADVI HAWA is a story based on true events occurred in the drought prone Bundelkhand region in U.P (Mahoba) and the vanishing villages from coastal Odisha & Chambal region of Dholpur, Rajasthan.
The story by Director Nila Madhab Panda is scripted by Nitin Dixit who also writes the dialogues of this absorbingly relevant hard hitting saga. The movie opens with a striking image of an aged blind Hedu (Sanjay Mishra) finding his way to the bus stand on the highway after crossing the dusted and hilly terrains of Chambal region to the Bank. Carrying a stick which guides him through his journey, Hedu meets Gunu Baba (Ranvir Shorey) a recovery agent who is nothing less than a terror in the rural region of the Mahoba and is called as Yamdoot (God of death). Farmers are committing suicide in the region and Hedu is concerned about his own son Mukund (Bhupesh Singh) who owes a substantial amount to the bank. Hedu wants to know the amount his son owes and the greedy recovery agent Gunu insults the aged Hedu for coming ‘empty handed’ to inquire about the loan.
The rural region of Mahoba offers double commission for the recovery agent as the region faces the wrath of nature with minimum rainfall owing to frequent draughts making recovery an uphill task. The humble household of Hedu owes a melancholic atmosphere where the face of Mukund permanently displays a sorry state of depression and powerlessness throughout. Such is the degree of helplessness that the death of a neighbour brings more aghast and worry to Mukund instead of sorrow and sympathy for his friend as the debt of the deceased who has committed suicide will now add on to the group loan in which Mukund is a part.
Hedu and his son Mukund hardly communicate while Hedu’s conversation with his daughter-in-law Parvati (Tillotama Shome) is restricted. Hedu finds solace while talking to his buffalo and granddaughter Kuhu (Ekta Sawant) while the younger one Pihu (Tanya Sejwal) a metaphor for the future is always crying.
One day Hedu hatches up a plan to save his son Mukund and his aghast. Hedu tips-off Gunu whenever any of his fellow, debt-ridden farmers comes across some money. The blind Hedu becomes the invisible enemy of his fellow villagers. Hedu’s remarkable quality to perceive sound much better than anyone else in his village makes it easy for Gunu to recover the money.
Mother nature is still unwilling to ponder her blessings with water to the barren region of Mahoba, Mukund sinks into more depression and forced to look for odd jobs in the city. This leads Hedu to cross his limits and he starts giving bigger tips to Gunu without thinking about the repercussions. The result in an unholy compromise on morals leading to a situation of uncontrollable guilt and despair as a shocking truth about climate change strikes us demanding an urgent need of action.
From the inspiring little gem I AM KALAM, to addressing issue like AIDS in BABLOO HAPPY HAI, to a cry for gender equality in JALPARI, this time Nila Madhab Panda touches a broader, global issue on climate change and remarkably defers from telling an essay on the same. Yes the issue is a stone-cold reality and the director weaves it with an utterly convincing and emotionally powerful story to present the bigger issue. The message is bigger than the messenger and it comes with an absorbing piece of cinema that has its shades of disturbance, sadness, hope, and dark humour.
Clad in a Dhoti carrying a stick with a draggled look, Sanjay Mishra as the aged blind Hedu is arguably his best performance till date after AANKHON DEKHI. The gifted actor draws the viewer close to his curious character immediately, and manages to keep one intrigued making them sail along with his emotions. Impeccable body language engaged in flawless timing, the actor is as sharp as ever, even while speaking to a buffalo or soaked in the dust of guilt. A performance worthy of national honours, Sanjay Mishra as Hedu is a rare and haunting piece of acting that underlines the genius of this actor who can be awkwardly hilarious in those mad capers and devastatingly stunning to the chore in KADVI HAWA.
Ranveer Shorey is terrific as the recovery agent complimenting Mishra and proving to be a perfect partner in the crime. Quirky, intense and appealing the actor gets into the skin with ease.
The gifted Tillotama Shome is rightly subdued in her role that displays the state of women under such conditions. The actress gets her moment when she finds her husband missing, the aghast, despair, and shock on her face is spot on with minimum dialogues and effort.
Bhupesh Singh as Mukund is outstanding as the farmer constantly beaten by the burden of debts and the horror of asking an untimely death due to the wrath of climate change.
On the flip side, it’s not for the entertainment hungry souls and the movie is primarily adorned by a sense of despair.
Nitin Dixit dialogues make an impact while Mukta Bhatt’s hard hitting lyrics in the song ‘Main Banjar’ heartrendingly creates the melancholy with stirring music by Santosh Jagdale. Gulzar Saab’s poem ‘Mausam Beghar Hone Lage Hai’ ends the emotionally powerful jeremiad on global warming with a haunting note.
KADVI HAWA is a piece of art that makes you admire Sanjay Mishra as an actor a little more than you already do, re - establish the faith in Nila Madhab Panda as a filmmaker with sense and sensibility, worry about the planet earth a lot more than you already do, and leaves you with series of questions in your head that can pop up whenever you enter your car, spot a chemical plant, a stupendous high rise in an area which was once a green clean heaven.