Discrimination on the basis of caste, colour, gender and religion is a plague that exits all over the world. But if you want to experience the gravity of it, watch Fandry. This film directed by Sairat maker Nagraj Manjule, will hit you where it hurts the most. Many films have dealt with discrimination. But Fandry’s sheer simplicity and rawness, make it a winner, hands down. It tells the story of a teenager Jabya (played by Somnath Awghade), that hails from a lower caste, and falls in love with a high-cast girl Shalu (played by Rajeshwari Kharat).
Watch the whole film here.
You may have come across this storyline before in other Marathi films such as Timepass, and Manjule’s own baby Sairat. But Fandry goes a step further as it explores the deep rooted discrimination that our society practices. Jabya comes to terms with the fact that he belongs to a lower caste, is dark skinned and unprivileged, as he develops feelings for Shalu. He is time and again reminded that a poor, mediocre looking man like him can never get a beautiful and rich girl like Shalu. And that’s the beauty of Fandry; the whole film sheds light on discrimination, in an indirect way. It’s through Jabya’s personal journey and narrative that we are faced with harsh realities that overshadow communities, especially in rural India.
Symbolism is an anchor for the film and its subtlety, makes the plot powerful. For instance, throughout the film, we see Jabya trying to capture a long-tailed sparrow with a slingshot. The sparrow is symbolic of the barriers in society that the boy is trying to overcome. Moreover, Fandry in Marathi, means pig. Jabya and his family, belong to a marginalised group called Kaikadi and Fandry is the word used for a pig in the community’s dialect. What’s interesting is that Jabya’s family is involved in the butchering and selling of pigs. But the boy wants nothing to do with the profession as he finds it revolting. Many a times, his father Kachru Mane (played by Kishor Kadam) forces Jabya into it but he rebels.
The hard-hitting tone of the film is set towards the end when Jabya gives in and kills a pig, to support his family. Manjule is known for closing his films with a powerful take away and does the same with Fandry. There’s a scene in the end where Jabya and his family are carrying a butchered pig against a wall which has paintings of big wigs such as B.R Ambedkar, Jyotiba Phule, Savitribai Phule. These are the very people who worked towards eradicating discrimination. And yet with the defeated walk that Jabya’s family takes with their pig, it’s evident that despite several fights, not much has changed in India. The minority continues to get ostracised and deprived of basic human rights.
The performances in Fandry are realistic to the point where you feel like you’re watching a documentary. Somnath as Jabya is the best part about the film. He puts forth the perfect balance of restraint and vulnerability. It’s a pleasure watching the actor in scenes where he is following Shalu and blushing, every time she’s near him. Rajeshwari as Shalu is equally convincing and shines as Jabya’s better half. Kishor Kadam yet again proves why he’s such a sought after actor, as Jabya’s father. His frustration is relatable and in bits, funny.
The editing is crisp and the scenes flow effortlessly from one frame to another. Manjule is a master storyteller when it comes to putting tales from rural India on celluloid. And with Fandry, he’s proven his talent yet again.
All in all, Fandry is a much needed film that handles discrimination, in a unique way. Watch it because if you don’t, you’ll miss out on some brilliant cinema.
Tell us what you think about the film in the comments section below. For more entertainment, check out the collection of fun Marathi films on ZEE5 here.