Sajin Baabu’s Biriyani is making waves in the festival circuit. This extraordinary tale of vengeance will leave one in shock, awe, and a sense of wonderment. And one will salute the director for his fearless avant-garde take on everything wrong in the society.
Centred around Khadeeja (played by Kani), Biriyani strings together dark moments and yet, has created gold. With its craft, experimentation and plot, Biriyani is a truly haunting experience. Biriyani, which is the director’s third film, was screened in Thiruvananthapuram on Sunday. It’s the film’s third screening in the state, after it bagged the prestigious NETPAC award.
The story centres around Khadeeja and how her life nosedives uncontrollably when her brother Shanu goes missing. Shanu is reported to have been radicalised and joined the ISIS.
Blows come in all forms at Khadeeja and life gets out of her grips. Eventually, even as she tries to reclaim it, society is not done with her. The tale of Khadeeja’s transition from a conservative homemaker to a woman of immense strength makes for a shockingly good watch.
You are with her, in her ultimate quest for revenge, to avenge every wrong society has inflicted upon her. The film doesn’t mince words. A variety of themes are explored, including Talaq, Sunnath, radicalisation, the hounding in the name of radicalisation, exploitation, the normative gender roles and ostracization of women.
Sajin says he is overwhelmed with the response, as many womenfolk reached out to him, saying they could identify with the central character.
“There is something very personal about the movie. It is not a theme I am unfamiliar with. In fact, I am in the middle of it and more often or so have had to face a lot of the situations I spoke about in the movie,” says Sajin. The movie is currently being sent to festivals and will have its theatrical release soon.
Khadeeja and Biriyaani will forever be in the consciousness of Malayalis, holding a mirror to everything wrong in our society. The movie ends on a profound wistful note of the director’s, of an alternate universe, where women also have a powerful voice.