SHORT FILM REVIEW – AHALYA: A FEMENIST VERSION OF THE MYTHOLOGICAL TALE.

In Hindu mythology Ahalya was the wife of the sage Gautama Maharishi who was cursed by her husband for having an affair with Lord Indra. However this short film takes a different and righteous turn when it comes to portraying women.

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The link to Sujoy Ghosh’s Ahalya is as follows  :-

Ahalya the short film

The story Ahalya captures is effectually a retelling of the mythological tale of Ahalya with a feminist twist.

Hindu mythology is filled with countless tales where women are mere objects of satisfaction, whether it’s a helpless draupadi in need of a man to save her or a rakshasi in the form of a beautiful siren trying to distract a Rishi in penance, but this movie takes a different turn.

The movie starts off with police officer Indra ringing the doorbell and being showed in by the seductive and attractive “Ahalya” who is the wife of the older Mr. Goutam.  On enquiring about the miniature statue of missing person called Arjun on his table, Goutam tells Indra about the “magic stone” and its ability to turn the person into whoever he wishes to be.

Indra although reluctant at first touches it and uses the disguise of Goutam to sleep with Ahalya. But instead of Ahalya being turned into stone as it is in the original tale, the tables are turned and the “Lord” or perhaps the “officer” Indra in this case is turned into a statue and thus, the “guilty” instead of the “victim” is punished ensuring proper justice.

Indra’s perilous screams are not heard and he can only fall down to the floor from the table like the statue of Arjun and all the other helpless statues, regretting falling for Ahalya.

The use of symbolism in this short film is magnificent with the characters being dressed in white in the beginning and dark in the end, depicting the corruption of one’s character.  The tension is built up pretty well even though the twist might be predicable.  Radhika Apte shines as the sultry and devious Ahalya and Goutam is portrayed well , who continuously gives cryptic hints to Indra like how “All his creations are because of his wife” and so on.

In short, the movie can be split into 3 parts, with Ahalya being the temptation, Goutam being the opportunity and Indra being the sin.

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