G Kutta Se
Cast: Rajveer Singh, Neha Chauhan, Nitin Pandit, Rashmi Somvanshi, Vibha Tyagi
Director: Rahul Dahiya
I came to G Kutta Se a week after it released, and even then I approached it with some trepidation, mostly because of my own prejudice against a Haryanvi film.
But, in the first minute itself, I was stunned and riveted.
Debutant writer-director Rahul Dahiya’s G Kutta Se (A Wanton Heart) is a brutal film that is focused on making us culpable voyeurs to crimes we read about with stunning regularity and yet pretend these are tales from another time, another dimension.
It presents, in gritty, honest, ruthless detail, a slice of life in rural Haryana where izzat is inextricably linked to the virginity of women who must present it to whom the men deem fit, and when.
In this world women matter less than the guard dogs, and yet patriarchy’s fragile ego is controlled by women’s hymens.
It shows us, through the lives of three women — Preeti, little Diksha (Vibha Tyagi) and Kiran (Neha Chauhan) — furtive sex despite the constant watch on women, casual sexual abuse, rape attempts, honour killings and more.
G Kutta Se begins with the most bizarre carjacking. Preeti is eloping with her husband’s driver in her husband’s car in the dead of the night when she encounters Virendra (Rajveer Singh) and Keku, who was, just seconds ago, trying his luck with cousin Babita.
In this situation, which presents tempting choices without much consequence, characters get exposed, their facades ripped off within seconds.
One tries to rape, another tries to protect, romance, while one slinks away with Preeti’s jewellery.
There on the film follows Virendra who, after this strange night out, brings home sketch pens for his sister and cousin Kiran he secretly lusts after, not knowing that she is in love with Dheer (Nitin Pandit), the fauji’s son.
One girl’s MMS circulates, and while the boy who shot and circulated it gets sent away to safety, she gets slashed by her mother’s sickle.
G Kutta Se sounds and feels like it was conceived in the dusty crannies of a Haryana village.
The story is tight, situations load-bearing, revealing and complimented by crackling dialogue that don’t miss a beat.
The acting in G Kutta Se could not have been more organic, real. Each and everyone is superb.
G Kutta Se has a documentary feel without the air of nobility and self-regard that a documentary on this subject would come wrapped in.
The stories it tells — of men and women caught in a vile, violent, bizarre notion of honour — are framed in a strange normal, a domesticity where men and women share farm labour, and partake in the pleasures of machismo whenever they can.
I liked how, despite the stranglehold that men and their biradri have over women’s bodies, women relentlessly exercise their choice — choice to have an affair, choice to run away with the boring husband’s driver, choice to give in to inquisitiveness, choice to pursue bodily pleasure up to the point it suits them.
Babita, for example, chooses to pretend sleep while being felt up, but the moment there’s the possibility of penetration, in one stealth move she moves her cot away.
I liked this boundary that she decided and created, based partly on the worth of the man concerned.
This negotiation, on their terms, in the little spaces that this world allows them, is what makes the many hundreds of women who exercise their choice despite knowing that they’ll pay for it, a kind of daring that is also rampant in Haryana. As rampant as honour killing.
They know it’s a place where a dead body can be casually explained away, and the few who do end up in police diaries will be forgotten soon. And yet it’s a place where they keep exercising their choice, keep following their wanton hearts.