Director: Krishna Mishra
Cast: Seema Parihar, Kanhaiya Kaithwas, Anjali Pandey, Pradeep Kabara, Rati Shankar, Jitendra Narooka, Vikas Srivastav, Sachal Tyagi
There have been quite a few films in the biographical genre. But it is with disappointment that one has to say that Wounded is a poor representation.
The film is almost a documentary, yet not one; and that’s precisely where the folly lies. Based on the life and making of Seema Parihar into a forced bandit, the film stars Seema herself in the lead.
The film commences with Seema Parihar agreeing to do the film, when the filmmaker approaches her for the role.
The daughter of a poor farmer, Seema is fancied by the local Thakur’s son. When she refuses marriage, the thakur instructs Lala Ra, (the most feared dacoit in the region) to have Seema abducted. This marks the beginning of her life as a bandit.
The story later divulges her aspiration for a family life, the betrayal she faces from her husband and finally her decision to surrender.
Despite a powerful and hard-hitting story like this, the filmmaker has not done justice to Seema’s story. Compared to films like Bandit Queen, Godmother, Kannatil Muttam Ittal (the terrorist training scenes) that deal with related issues and stories, Wounded falls flat on its face.
The use of ‘filmi’ background scores tarnish the story and the effect the film could have possibly had on the audiences. Music heard in neo realistic films, finds itself here, and instead of contributing to the narration and story, it makes a mockery of it.
Shoddy camera work, with out of focus shots and badly lit ones, the story fails to have any impact.
The acting seems forced. It would have been better to let the actors improvise or even feel the character (considering the fact most of them play themselves). Dialogues at times seem forced as well, key sentences are written in proper Hindi, while the rest are in the kind of Hindi spoken in Uttar Pradesh. Minor areas like these that have been overlooked actually make you wonder if the story has been manipulated by the director to make it far more commercial a flick, rather than a hard-hitting true story.
Seema Parihar on screen actually manages to make you empathise with her. Her eyes speak of deceit, pain, strength and an urge to convey her story to a larger audience. Kudos to this reformed bandit, for being able to do this. Somehow, you are left feeling that perhaps a bigger budget film would have been able to convey the story better, or at least be able to make the film available to a wider audience.
It is praiseworthy that the director has managed to make this film, shedding light on a story never told before.
The film, despite its a few commercial elements, fails sadly on the commercial viability chart. The film will probably do a below average business, due to the absence of earnest viewers for films like these. The film can be expected to do a decent amount of business in the northern region.
Wounded is a great effort and is worth a watch, provided you do not walk in with great expectations.