Director: Pallavi Roy
Cast: Bhagwan Tiwari, Karan Maan, Sarthak Narula and Kanak Garg
Platform of Release: Theatres
By Jyothi Venkatesh
Though the film was titled Sanwri earlier, for reasons best known to the makers, the title has been changed to Unwoman. The film revolves around a simple man from a village in Rajasthan who leads a lonely life and is burdened by the overpowering shadow of his dominant paternal uncle Bhairo (Bhagwan Tiwari) who decides everything on behalf of his helpless nephew.
To improve their living condition, his uncle coaxes him to buy for himself a bride. Bhanwar (Karan Maan) sells his piece of land and Bhairo contacts a human trafficker, who cheats him by marrying him off with a transgender person who has a female identity (Sanwri) but is born with no vagina or reproductive organs. Since transgender people are looked down upon by the society, Bhairo and Bhanwar decide to allow Sanwri in their house for household work and withhold her identity to the villagers.
Though Bhairo continues to treat Sanwri as an object who is there only to serve his needs, gradually Bhanwar’s bond based on necessity turns into love. However, when one-night Bhairo stealthily peeps into the makeshift bedroom of Bhairav, he is shocked to know the real truth about Sanwri and in the absence of Bhairav, he threatens Sanwri to submit to his lustful sexual needs.
When Bhairav rightly objects to his uncle’s advance towards his legally wedded wife, and assaults him, Bhairo threatens to expose the truth about Sanwri and gets the panchayat to rusticate her from the village as well as make Bhairav apologize to Bhairo by falling at his feet. Sanwri has now no other alternative but to go away from the village in a bus where in the closing shot, she is seen telling everyone else that she is a hijra who has no place to stay.
Kudos to writer-director Pallavi Roy for making an aesthetic film with an avowed objective to show the bitter truth that even in this new age, people continue to make transgender people feel ashamed of their bodies and force them to stay away from the mainstream and expose the fact that there is a skewed female ratio in some parts of the country and the status of transgender people are abused as chakkas, gud and hijras.
While Kanak Garg is brilliant in the role of Sanwri, and lives her role effortlessly, Bhagwan Tiwari is first rate as Bhairo the scheming uncle. Karan Maan is passable in the role of Bhairav Singh in this film which is redeemed by its rich content.