Phullu: Good Intentions Weighed Down by Poor Execution
Movie Review by Trijai Nerthi (Rocheston Certified Movie Critic)
Phullu is one of those rare films that you desperately want to like. Its good intentions safely place the heart of its plot in the right place. Even though director Abhishek Saxena’s intentions to focus on the much-tabooed menstruation is commendable, the manner in which he takes the plot forward, the pace his narrative takes and the poorly constructed nuances of this craft that becomes prevalent weighs this film down.
The film is centred on Phullu, the naive small-town lad who runs errands for women in the village. Even though he has a weary mother and a supportive wife, Phullu is too lazy to own up to the task of being the breadwinner of the family. On one such uneventful day, he notices the red cloths his wife takes away and the itchiness it causes her night after night.
When he poses questions, neither his wife nor his mother comes up with answers. Soon, Phullu gets answers to these questions from a female doctor at the local pharmacy and he learns about Menstruation. The fact that the sanitary napkins are not affordable to the women in his village starts to trouble him. So, he sets out to the city to manufacture affordable and durable sanitary napkins for women.
As you sit eagerly to witness the creative unfolding of a topic that has always been pushed aside in black plastic covers, Phullu arrives late and disappoints you. The establishment of the rural folk and their conversations seem interesting at first. But the way the plot refuses to move forward in an acceptable pace henceforth pushes the boundaries of your patience. The film takes way too long to get to the point. After a while, the narrative’s constant drift becomes incredibly strenuous to handle. Ideally, the focus should be on the core message of the film. Instead your focus gets pulled away to its terrible execution.
The film has two contradicting layers that often clash. On one hand, the topic of menstruation is handled in a gentle and casual manner. Director Saxena refrains from a melodramatic take on the topic, which is a relief. But on the other hand, the theatrics of the characters and their portrayals are in direct contrast with the film’s pace. They are undeniably dramatic and this never goes well with a drifting and subtle plot.
Phullu borrows many shades from Anrunachalam Murugananthan’s story. The premise is the same, but the personality and actions of these men are varying. For instance, the infamous quirks of Arunachalam are never observed in Phullu. His unique methods of discovery are also never touched upon in the film.
Nevertheless, Phullu should be applauded for finally addressing this topic. Its intentions itself wins you over. An effective way to utilise filmmaking and an employment of intriguing nuances to move the story forward could’ve given this film the spark it deserves.
As Phullu, Sharib Hasmi is the spine of this film. Sometimes he is great but sometimes he is seen trying too hard. This takes away from the effortlessness of the film. Inaamulhaq makes an unforgettable appearance in the film. His scenes are especially notable.
Troy Arif’s background music hits off the mark many a times. This proves to be a constant distraction to the plot. The plot takes a gentle approach whereas the music is constantly found to be over-the-top.
On the whole, Phullu’s good intentions are weighed down by poor execution. But just for having its heart at the right place you should give this film a watch.