Somewhere nearby, a train passes by, breaking the silence of the night. Looking ahead of her, a woman sits on her haunches in the back of a tiny, rundown house, washing vessels, singing a Hindi song.
Aao huzoor tumko,sitaron mein le chaloon. Come my beloved, let me take you to the stars.
The beginning of Mridul Nair’s short film Ghar Se (From Home) is similar in its ending, and the song is of a woman who has done the unexpected in the minutes in between.
Nimisha Sajayan, a state-award winning young actor in Malayalam films, plays the woman, and with her in the house is an old woman, presumably her mother-in-law, played by Ambika Rao, another actor in Malayalam films. The film, which is in Hindi, depicts the quiet but determined response of two women towards a rapist in their house. Dinesh Prabhakar, yet another noted Malayali actor who has worked in Hindi films before, plays the third character in the film.
A striking quality of the film is that there is barely any dialogue – it is mostly narrated through lines of Hindi songs that the two women characters sing, and through news broadcasts that play on the television in their home. The women characters are unassuming, with Nimisha simply cutting vegetables, cooking and doing other household chores. Ambika does her part by appearing to be the doting mother who takes the abuse of a son who comes into the house while physically pushing her out of the way.
The man arrives at the house, one whom the two women have been waiting for. And in the short span of a couple of minutes, Nimisha transforms from a seemingly submissive woman into someone who can be downright merciless. Her expressions shift from surprise to amusement, restraint to nonchalance.
The two women have done something drastic, unexpected. It can be argued that the women taking the law into their own hands is questionable or condemnable, but we do hear the siren of a police vehicle in the end. But it's also to be noted that the women did not shield the rapist though he's their family. However, the lack of conversation for even a confession before the punishment, is disconcerting.
Dinesh Prabhakar is also one of the producers of the short film, along with Sajin Jaffar, in association with The Filmy Joint. Jomon T John is the cinematographer and Manoj Kannoth is the editor. Sreerag Saji has composed the music.