Just like a rising tide, this movie rose till it achieved the National award. Gujarati film Hellaro, is one of a kind. Director Abhishek Shah’s film debut did wonders in the film, especially how he beautifully highlighted the culture of Kutch. The movie released in cinemas in November 2019, starring Jayesh More, Shraddha Dangar, Kaushambi Bhatt, Brinda Trivedi Nayak, Shachi Joshi, Niilam Paanchal, Tejal Panchasara, Kausambi Bhatt and Kishan Gadhavi. The film depicts a simple story yet in a powerful way. Since a very longtime women in the rural regions are being neglected and looked down. The Film highlights various issues such as casteism, patriarchy, domestic violence and superstition. This is the tale of 12 women who gather up the courage to go against the rules and challenges the patriarchal norms of their village which have been laid upon them.
The story unfurls in 1975 in the small village of Kutch region of Gujarat where a girl named Manjhri (Shraddha Dangar) is being married off to this small village. Manjhri came from an urban part and she did her schooling till grade 7. Unlike the rest of the women who were not much aware of their own village, she was the one who couldn’t bear the suppression and took a step forward and expressed her desire for Garba which she used to play back in her village but due to the rules made by men of the village she couldn’t. Every night men of the village played Garba joyfully whereas women looked from their houses. Women dancing was considered as a ‘sin’ which made them only watch the men enjoying the beautiful dance form. The only getaway for them was during the time when they use to go to fetch water where they met Mulji (Jayesh More) who had passed out due to exhaustion. Manjhri was the one to help him as others never encountered strange men because they weren’t allowed to. The Dhol in his hand, rose the hope in Manjhri’s heart for her deep wish to play garba. So without thinking twice she asked him if he could play Dhol for her, then she started off gracefully and others joined her. At that point onwards, each day they went to that distant spot for the sake of fetching water however playing Garba, dancing away all the pain and repression from the men of the village. The Film exquisitely shows the culture, the bare landscape of Kutch look so pleasing with the joy of playing Garba. The Film consists the purpose of entertainment through the beautiful songs and also highlights the issues which needs to be addressed. Music adds essence to the film. In an interview Abhishek talks about how Garbas from Hellaro differs from others. He says that in the first Garba there is the pleasure of playing garba as well as the concern of a mother. In the song, the mother advises the young girl not to get diverted with dreams that may fall ahead. The soulful and mesmerizing music lifted the film.
Hellaro is a must watch for the people who love cinema. The striking story, the choreography and the brilliant performances of the actors makes this film a blockbuster film. Hellaro also received much praise from the critics globally. Many praised about how the film depicts the culture of Gujarat, it’s dance form, songs and the story. Hellaro became the first gujarati film to win the National Film Award for Best Feature Film.