When was the last time you switched on the news channel and did not hear about rape? When was the last time you opened a newspaper and did not come across news of a gruesome rape and murder? Director Priyanka Banerjee's 13-minute short film takes on the social malaise that ails us all.
Devi's women are all victims of rape and murder. They are stuck in a purgatory where the room keeps crowded as the number of victims keeps increasing. Set in a single room occupied by many women, the film opens with a few women who seemingly belong to different worlds but are all stuck in the same room – but why? What is this room? Is this a rehabilitation centre for rape victims? Is this an NGO? The story unravels in the next 13 minutes as we get to know the trauma that they have suffered.
Written and directed by Priyanka Banerjee, Devi is an empathetic attempt to show that no matter the age, caste, religion and class, female rape victims are all stuck in the same purgatory. Be it the religious (Kajol), or the deaf-dumb girl (Yashaswini Dayama), or even an older lady (Neena Kulkarni) or an executive Neha Dhupia or a glam-girl Shruti Haasan.– These women are different from each other but suffer the same fate. As they watch the news on television, they learn that their little room will have more occupants with each passing day. The doorbell rings and they realise it is time they need to adjust and make space for another woman. They all begin fighting and cribbing about the room not being able to occupy all of them. They are left shell-shocked when they see the latest entrant being a young girl.
Devi is a commentary on the current society, wherein rapes have increased and the conviction rate is barely 32 percent. As we gear up to celebrate women's day, Devi tells us that while we as a country worship goddesses, we don't treat our women in the same way. Our women are suffering as they battle not just the perpetrators' outsides, but even in their homes. Kajol, in the short film, makes a powerful comment on asking the women to adjust, as they have adjusted all their lives so they might as well do it after death.
Rating - 4.5/5