Banner: Sikhya Films
Producer: Guneet Monga, Anurag Kashyap, Feroze Alameer, Achin Jain
Writer-Director: Shlok Sharma
Cast: Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Shweta Tripathi, Trimala Adhikari, Mohammad Samad, Irfan Khan and Harish Khurrana
Movies like Haramkhor expose the gritty reality of life and who better than Sikhya Entertainment to make them? This is the story of a 15-year-old girl who is head-over-heels in love with her Maths teacher. But that is not all. The movie is an interesting take on mundane life in rural India.
A lonely 15-year-old Sandhya (Shweta Tripathi) has a dysfunctional and toxic relationship with her father, who neglects her and is also having an affair. She finally finds some solace in the arms of her much older Maths teacher Shyam Tekchand (Nawazuddin Siddiqui), who is married to Sunita (Trimala Adhikari).
However, Sandhya isn’t the only one with a crush on an older person. There’s Kamal (Irfan Khan) of Chillar Party fame, who harbours secret a love for Sandhya. What follows is Kamal’s conventional ways of wooing Sandhya, and her illicit, yet stormy affair with Shyam.
The moral brigade will be quick to point out that sex with a minor amounts to statutory rape. To guard against this, the filmmakers have added a warning as a captioned message in many scenes, for audiences who cringe at the mere mention of a student-teacher relationship.
Handling a gritty reality is not everyone’s cup of tea but Shlok Sharma, who was assistant director to Anurag Kashyap on Dev D and Gangs of Wasseypur, has balanced it well while at the helm of this film. He has nuanced the film very well and does not glorify the sexual relationship between teacher and minor. The movie also has its share of quirky moments and some light comedy.
Although Sharma does a decent job as director, he should have worked doubly hard on the screenplay. The movie fails to engage throughout, thanks to poor writing, and it tends to get monotonous. Apart from writing, another problem with the film is editing, which in several places jars while some scenes appear disjointed.
Another drawback of this movie is the climax, which is insipid and convoluted. It leaves the audience with a bad taste in the mouth.
Performance-wise, Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Shweta Tripathi, both seasoned actors, play their respective parts effortlessly and with finesse. Both of them have found ways to charm the audience with their portrayal of Shyam and Sandhya. Child actors Kamal (Irfan Khan) and Mintu (Mohammad Saad) have done a fine job of playing village urchins who are curious about sex.
Verdict: Worth a dekho.