By Subhash K Jha
Stars: Purab Kohli,Tannishtha Chatterjee, Kirti Kulhari, Mukul Dev
Director: Girish Malik
MUMBAI: It’s a never-before experience. Tapestried and tempestuous, the tides of Girish Malik’s narrative rise and swell like the frequent sandstorms in the desertscape that Sunita Radia’s camera captures so evocatively in this saga of raging ragas.
There is more than just a little bit of Shakespeare in Girish Malik’s directorial debut. Jal leaves you with many fluttering strands of thought swimming in the tormented tides of humanity’s most deprived and financially challenged part of civilization where drinking water is more precious than gold.
Malik’s richly layered narrative sweeps across the Rann Of Kutch landscape in an exhilarating arched sweep that subsumes poetic beauty and human squalor, all in one mesmeric range of vision. In terms of sheer visual grandiosity, Jal is next to none. Women swathed in black running after a woman who has dared to drink from their village well, the offending hero being dragged across the desert by animals like a wolf that forgot its jurisdiction, cyclones and rain conspiring to create an aura of distracting unpredictability… These are the images that etch themselves in the audiences’ mind.
Going by the director’s mastery over the medium you’d find it very tough to believe this is his first film. Malik exercises an enormously flexible yet firm grip over his epic plot. Jal is many things at the same time. The narrative moves in mysterious ways coiling and snaking through circumstances that appear more destined than designed. And yet—here lies the paradox of a work of art—there is a grand design at work here.
The tale unfolds in a multiplicity of enigmatic dimensions, many of them ironical. The very basic idea of a water astrologer in the parched desert who wins and loses his fellow-villagers’ faith , is used in the plot as a device to defiantly mock what we call destiny.
The opposition between man and machine and between design and destiny is scripted as a series of anecdotal incidents that serve as pungent punctuation marks in a tale so vivid with characters you want every one of them to have a happy ending. Alas, life is not about rounded denouements.
And Bakka (Purab Kohli)’s adventures with love and life consummate in a sticky tragedy that leaves most of the characters dazed , if not dead.Vividly, Jal moves from one level of articulation on the relationship between Man and Nature to another. At some point, the chameleon-like narrative assumes the shape of a Rann of Kutch Romeo & Juliet, when Bakka, power-drunk and prophecy-prized, falls in love with the neighbouring enemy village’s chieftain’s daughter (the sultry and enchanting Kirti Kulhari).Bakka insists on marrying the enemy’s daughter, thereby triggering off a chain of catastrophic events that leave the village poorer even as we the audience come away enriched and nourished by the experience .
The director’s deft defiant and untameable vision knits a blanket of lucid emotions embedded in a well-told narrative that hides a wealth of surreptitious surprises. The scenes are edited to accentuate the uncertainty of a people who don’t know when and where their next drink of water would come from.
Water is war in Jal. This premise gives Girish Malik the chance to create images that convey the immediacy and intimacy of a sudden eruption of gunfire at a sensitive border area. There is a constant sense of doom permeating the canvas. And yet Jal is not an unhappy film. The male characters are vividly played by artistes who seem to merge and blend in the realm of the registaan .
You wish the women were more fervently fleshed out. The only two women in Bakka’s life played by Tannishta Chatterjee and Kirti Kulhari, come across as sensuously silhouetted shadows. Tannishta does have her moments towards the end when she jumps into the climactic point with determined gusto. But make no mistake. This is a guys’ film. The male actors in their Rann Of Kutch clothes and demeanour are splendidly in-sync with their characters. While Yashpal Sharma as the Russian activist’s obnoxious guide creates a cringe-worthy portrait of overzealous hospitality, Ravi Gossain and the other actors too are completely credible as local villagers.
Purab Kohli in his career’s strongest role presides over the maelstrom of operatic overtures exercizing a resolute grip over the shifting-sands of his characters attitude and time. At one point he’s the village’s elected saviour tapping water reservoirs like a magician conjuring rabbits. The next moment he is a cunning traitor and finally a doomed victim whom Shakespeare’s Hamlet would have recognized. Jal makes you wonder why Purab hasn’t made a better place for himself in Bollywood.
Equally stunning as his filthy slimy opponent is Mukul Dev. This neglected actor plays the kind of horny scumbag who would make you puke, if only he were not so honest about his diabolism.
The accents are thick, and so is the tension. The plot constantly searches out humour in the grim waterless deserts. A Russian activist bird-watcher(Saidah Jules) fascinated by dying flamingos provides the villagers of all ages a chance to pant in erotic ecstacy.
The activist wants to save birds in the district.But who is going to save the human beings? The question echoes in the deserts in accusatory spasm. Girish Malik has designed a film where the characters are constantly on the brink of doom and yet liberated from the scourge of self-pity.
Jal is a work of remarkable resonance. The sheer visual mastery of Girish Malik’s directorial debut takes your breath away. Very rarely does a film spin such a beguiling web of drama and fantasy. The sheer velocity and spatial harmony of the intrinsically disturbed desertscape , the incredibly nuanced sound design and the powerhouse performances by actors who forget the camera is watching them, make this a work whipped into eternity by vast stretches of unchained artistry.
The vividness of the images and the composition of the shots stay with you even when the lights go on. There are some lives that seem designed for the drama of cinema. See Jal. You will know what I mean.
Joint statement from the Greater Toronto Area & Hamilton Mayors and Chairs
We are united in fighting COVID-19 – protecting our residents and saving lives.
While the measures we have taken to stop the spread of the virus have made a difference, this virus has still taken far too many lives in our communities and continues to threaten the lives of our residents.
At the same time, there is no denying the devastating impact of COVID-19 on the economy. Jobs have been lost, many businesses have closed or are at risk of closure, and many families are worried about their financial future.
We’ve been hit hard but that’s why it is so important that we keep moving forward and come back as strong as possible.
Today, the GTHA Mayors and Chairs met to discuss the impacts of COVID-19 on the region and how our municipalities can work together on the economic restart and recovery.
We know the Toronto Census Metropolitan Area alone is projected to lose 355,000 jobs and 28% of GDP along with $894 million in lost wages and $3.7 billion in revenue losses for businesses. This will be felt right across the GTHA but it also threatens the provincial and national economies.
A strong recovery right here in the GTHA is crucial to healing the economic damage done by COVID-19 and helping the families and businesses all governments have been working to protect throughout this emergency.
Ontario’s economy and Canada’s economy need the GTHA to come back stronger than ever when the restart begins.
We are determined to deliver this recovery and we agreed today that the GTHA municipalities will be working together to successfully and smoothly reopen our vital regional economy when the time comes.
We also discussed how we can in a consistent way achieve significant, necessary financial support from the other governments to help mitigate the impact of COVID-19 and protect our ability to contribute to the recovery. A strong recovery needs strong cities and regional governments.
We have agreed we will work together to share information about our respective financial positions and explore together measures we can advocate to the other governments which will help to ensure the financial stability of local and regional governments in the GTHA.
Our child care and recreation programs help parents get back to work.
Our emergency services keep people safe.
Our transit systems get people to work and home safely.
Our major infrastructure projects – often built in conjunction with the other governments – will help kick-start the recovery and create countless jobs.
Our economic development activities attract jobs and investment.
We built a strong and vibrant GTHA and we know that we will need to come back even stronger and as quickly as we can in order to keep Canada’s economy going.
With the cooperation and support of the provincial and federal governments, we are ready to rise to this challenge.”
Four People Charged in Mississauga Pedestrian Fail to Remain Fatality
Investigators from the Major Collision Bureau have charged four people in Mississauga’s most recent fatal fail to remain collision.
On Thursday, February 15, 2018, at approximately 8:40 p.m., the victim, a 61 year-old female from Mississauga, was struck by a south bound vehicle as she was crossing Mavis Road in the area of Knotty Pine Grove in the City of Mississauga. The vehicle did not remain and the victim, having suffered major injuries, was pronounced dead at the scene.
On Saturday, February 17, 2018 shortly before 7:00 p.m., Satchithanantha VAITHILINGAM, a 60 year-old male from Brampton, and the driver believed to be responsible in this incident, surrendered to police at 22 Division. Satchithanantha VAITHILINGAM has since been charged with Fail to Remain Cause Death.
Hivissa SATCHITHANANTHAN, a 25 year old female from Brampton, Shajeetha SATCHITHANANTHAN a 28 year-old female from Brampton and Gowtham SATKUNARAJAH a 28 year-old male from Brampton have each been charged with Accessory After the Fact in relation to this incident.
Satchithanantha VAITHILINGAM will answer to his charge on March 12, 2018. Hivissa SATCHITHANANTHAN, Shajeetha SATCHITHANANTHAN andGowtham SATKUNARAJAH will answer to their charges on Monday March 26, 2018 at the Ontario Court of Justice in Brampton
Anyone who may have witnessed the collision, have dashboard video footage of the incident or who may have any information regarding this incident is asked to contact investigators with the Major Collision Bureau at (905) 453-2121, ext. 3710. Information may also be left anonymously by calling Peel Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477), or by visiting www.peelcrimestoppers.ca or by sending a text message to CRIMES (274637) with the word ‘PEEL’ and then your tip.
Justin Trudeau in India: Hug missing! Mounting pressure?
The much publicized and anticipated visit of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to India was marred with questions. The questions were centered on the kind of welcome he would be given in the Sikh dominated state of Punjab. Also the famous hug by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was being anticipated. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau finally made his much-touted visit to India. He landed on the Indira Gandhi Airport, New Delhi only to be received by Gajendra Singh Shekhawat not even a Cabinet Minister in Narendra Modi’s government.
He is presently the second rank Minister of State for Agriculture. That comes in complete contrast to the warmth that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his NDA government has generally displayed towards the visiting dignitaries. Only a couple of weeks ago, when the heads of the 10 ASEAN states arrived in India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi didn’t receive Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the airport, as he has previously done with many leaders including Barack Obama, Xi Jinping, Shinzo Abe, and Benjamin Netanyahu.
The fact that Prime Minister Narendra Modi didn’t join him is all surprising even when Prime Minister Trudeau visited Gujarat. This is unusual because the Indian Prime Minister has set a trend that he always accompanies head of the state when they visit his home state.
Even Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Yogi Adityanath did not show up, let alone accompany Prime Minister Trudeau to the Taj. However, during Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s 15 January visit to the Taj Mahal at Agra, Yogi Adityanath had received Netanyahu and his wife and shown them around as well as hosted a lunch for them. For first three days, none from the executive or the elected representative held any meeting with the delegation.
Media in India is trying to spread a message that the cold treatment given by Prime Minister could be because two of the four Sikh members of Trudeau’s cabinet – Harjit Sajjan and Amarjeet Sohi – support the Khalistan movement. However, had that been the case his visit to Punjab would have got a similar response. However, the Punjab Government led by Captain Amarinder Singh rolled out a red carpet during his stay at Amritsar and even the two leaders held some fruitful discussions.
Thus putting an end to those criticisms that that Prime Minister Trudeau’s visit was devoid of any warmth. Chief Minister of Punjab Amarinder Singh, for instance who met Prime Minister Justin Trudeau setting aside his earlier prejudice that he exhibited during the visit of Defence Minister Harjeet Singh Sajjan.
In recent months, Gurudwaras (Sikh temples) in Canada, the United States and Australia have banned Indian officials from visiting gurudwaras and the moment started with Gurudwaras here in Toronto. Could that be the reason for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to not accord one of the warmest welcomes that he is known to provide? Or the use by Canada’s parliament of the term genocide to describe mass killings of Sikhs in India in 1984 has left the Indian Prime Minister disturbed? However, more than Prime Minister Modi, this could have left the Congress party in troubled waters, but that was also not the case as Amarinder Singh hails from the same party.
The lukewarm welcome to Prime Minister Trudeau can have its political ramifications too. Will it hamper the significant 2015 deal, in which Canada agreed to supply 3,000 metric tons of Uranium to power India’s atomic reactors?
Somewhere Prime Minister Modi has not taken the issue of non allowing entry of Indian officials to Gurudwaras and the statement on Genocide too lightly. Prime Minister Modi however has failed to understand that Canada cannot curtail the right of freedom of speech and expression of its citizen.
Two nations perhaps failed to resolve the matter before Prime Minister boarded the flight from Canada and not welcoming Prime Minister Trudeau could be a tactical decision to put pressure on him. With Prime Minister Modi preferring to meet him at the far end of the tour has conveyed a lot about the myopic approach of Prime Minister Modi.