Chauranga is an intense movie about Dalit oppression. Living a city life these issues seem to not hold any significance for us but a movie such as this one brings out the reality that still exists in villages.
The movie is set in one such village and has several threads interwoven into one larger story. The focus is on a young Dalit boy as he grapples with different issues. His adolescent questioning about women, his love for the upper caste Zamindar’s daughter, his curiosity about what the inside of a temple looks like since as a Dalit he is not allowed to enter. The local zamindar equivalent rules the village without being elected and keeps the boy’s mother as his mistress. There are other forces at play such as the village priest, the suffering wife of thezamindar and high caste hangers on in the zamindar’s entourage who miss no chance to beat up the boy and his brother. The story plays out as a result of the pushes and pulls between all these different forces.
The story is decently told and manages to keep you engaged most of the time. However, I felt there were too many strands unraveling at the same time, which took away a bit of the impact. ALso, some of them seemed to be there just to add some extra provocation such as the Priest's bestiality scene with the goat. It didn't add to the movie in anywhich way. However, the way the movie ends is beautiful and leaves you with powerful conflicting emotions. The end alone is worth the watch.
This is a difficult movie. There is not much here that is entertaining andit has a very arty movie feel at times but if you like being jolted out of your urbane domesticity then you can give it a try.