Sujoy Ghosh’s ‘Ahalya’ the pain and punishment Syndrome
Just finished watching the short film by Sujoy Ghosh, Ahalya the 14 minute representation of the mythological character Ahalya of Ramayana who had been cursed by her husband Gautam for infidelity with lord Indra. Ahalya however has three exact replicas if have a look at Sita of Ramayana, Ahalyaof Brahmapurana and Draupadi of Mahabharata.
I’m not going to take you through the mythology that’s been eating our cultural morals for thousands of years as it is again a waste of my and your time. You can look up Google if you’re unaware about these mythological characters.
I see the short film as a cure to our male dominated culture. Our culture teaches us to treat women as gods still the gods and heroes of our mythology had always ruled pain and punishment for ladies. Sita was doubted by Rama, Ahalya was cheated still she was cursed. Draupadi was married to five men. Everytime the pain was suffered by women.
The film explains Indra, has stone which had magical powers so that he can transform into anyone he wish. Indra disguised as Guatam to make love with Ahalya, Gautam was hesitant to hear Ahalya’s part and cursed her. She stayed as a stone for 6000 years till finally Lord Rama blessed her with his feet.
The Stone in the movie symbolizes yourself, not the present “You” but the actual “You”, the dirtiest and nastiest “You”. Soumitra Chatterjee (Sadhu) , Tota Roy Chowdhury ( Inspector Indra Sen) and Radhika Apte ( Sadhu’s Wife) are the main characters in this film. Mr Sadhu is an artist who shapes the future of the several men who makes love with his wife even though, he is the facilitator and the first one who fallen in her trap.
Indra Sen, visits Mr. Sadhu’s house the enquire about the missing of Arjun, the third Pandava as Mr Sadhu says which means there are more to come. In the life of a woman, she lives with several men, father, brother , boy friend(s), Husband (s). Arjun wanted to escape so he used the magical stone to accomplish it but he was crafted in to a doll by Sadhu, this instance is the most vibrant part of the short film.
Hoever, Inspector Indra never believed in the magical powers of the stone so Mr. Sadhu asked the inspector to check it out. Opposite poles attract each other same as opposite gender, Mr Indra Sen fell in love with Ahalya at the first sight itself. Love happens instantly, even through a look. We boast about the acceptance of our culture. To some extent we accept everything but in case of your wife or loved ones you never have this quality.
Sadhu is setting an example to all the men out there, he also shows how to treat your better half. The short film points that our girls are vulnerable because they were kept vulnerable. They never had freedom, they never had basic rights. When the freedom is denied, eruption is inevitable and which leads infidelity and affairs.
The best part of the movie is where Sadhu asks the inspector to try the power of the stone. Sadhu asks the inspector to imagine him as Mr. Sadhu and give back his wife’s phone. Inspector, Indra thinks that he is Mr. Sadhu and enter Ahalya’s room with her mobile. Ahalya greets the inspector like her husband, when the inspector looks on the mirror he sees Mr. Sadhu’s face which must’ve been seen by Ahalya.
Anyone can be anyone, there’s is no stone or diamond needed. Inspector was sure that he’s not Mr. Sadhu but he is reluctant to accept it and he makes love with Ahalya. The next seen is where a new model enters the house for the sitting and Mr. Sadhu shows his latest creation to the model which is the doll of Inspector Indra Sen.
In the Ramayana, when Indra comes to Ahalya dressed as his husband and makes love to her, Ahalya, even being innocent was punished by her husband, Rishi Gautam for infidelity and was turned into stone. Radhika Apte in the role of Ahalya takes revenge of anyone who tries to make love with her by turning them into stone.
The main catch is, had if Inspector Indra not went back to take advantage of Ahalya, deceived as her husband, he would have been saved and not turned into stone. So every man who falls in the trap turns into stone.
Still there’s no escape for our Ahalya’s they don’t have the power to turn who exploits them into a stone. The movie is a message who blames the western civilization and prompts them to fix ours first which based our of male supremacy.