- 2 hr 25 min
Dahan is a Bengali drama film directed by Rituparno Ghosh, released in 1998. The film is based on the true events of a sexual assault that took place in Kolkata in the 1990s. The movie addresses the sensitive issue of women's safety in society and the prevalent patriarchal mindset against women. The movie opens with the protagonist Indrani, played by Shakuntala Barua, and her neighbor Sarojini, played by Chandni, going shopping for Sarojini's wedding. On their way back, they are attacked by a group of men who try to snatch their bags. The men get violent, and Indrani is sexually assaulted while Sarojini watches helplessly.
The incident leaves Indrani traumatized, and she is unable to cope with the event. Her husband, played by Nirmal Kumar Chakraborty, is a police officer and is tasked with finding the culprits. The film then shows the hurdles faced by Indrani and her husband while trying to bring the culprits to justice.
The film poignantly depicts the emotional trauma that Indrani goes through while trying to come to terms with what happened to her. Shakuntala Barua's performance as Indrani stands out as she portrays the character's pain, suffering, and inner turmoil with remarkable skill. She deservedly won the National Award for Best Actress for her role in the film.
The film also raises several pertinent questions about women's safety in society. It portrays the patriarchal mindset of society, which blames the victim and shames her instead of holding the perpetrators accountable. The film's depiction of the societal pressure faced by a rape victim is heart-wrenching.
The film's direction is exceptional, and Rituparno Ghosh's portrayal of the characters and the Kolkata setting is remarkably realistic. The background score is also noteworthy and complements the film's narrative exceptionally well.
Dahan also features several key supporting characters who play a vital role in the film's narrative. Joy Sengupta plays the role of a social worker who helps Indrani cope with her trauma, and Kali Banerjee plays her father-in-law, who tries to shield her from society's judgmental gaze. The film's depiction of the strong bond between the father-in-law and daughter-in-law is a heartwarming aspect of the film.
The movie's climax is another standout element, as it builds up to a gripping courtroom scene. The scene showcases Indrani's husband's efforts to bring the culprits to justice, with Shakuntala Barua's raw emotions shining through in a powerful monologue.
Overall, Dahan is a cinematic masterpiece that effectively portrays the societal pressures and stigmas faced by women who are victims of sexual assault. The film's narrative and the performances by the actors make it one of the most emotionally moving films of its time. It is a must-watch for anyone who wants to understand the societal barriers that prevent women from leading a safe and dignified life. It is a timeless classic that continues to resonate with audiences even today.