Naval Enna Jewel movie review: A fight against patriarchy

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | MEERA MANU
Published Aug 21, 2017, 12:06 am IST
Updated Aug 21, 2017, 12:06 am IST
At a pivotal point, the ‘dead’ Asma yanks the veil off the male identity she has been hiding behind, and reappears.
Still from Naval Enna Jewel movie.
 Still from Naval Enna Jewel movie.
Rating:

Cast: Shweta Menon, Reem Kadem, Adil Hussain, Anu Sithara, Sudheer Karamana 
Director : Renji Lal Damodaran

“Does a woman need a man to feel complete?” Borrow this question from writer Anita Nair and set the rest of the story to another premise. What if she does not have a male head at home? When society’s lecherous tentacles run deep into the very existence of a young, widowed mom and little daughter, they can’t help, but fight all the odds. They adapt to society in a different way, only to be hunted down for what they fear.

 

Naval Enna Jewel is about two women, Asma and her daughter Naval Al Ameer. The barbaric practice we call with different names like Arabi Kalyanam or Mali Kalyanam forms the crux of this movie. An impoverished Muslim family with four daughters, from the interiors of Malabar, gets its eldest child Asma, a charming 14-year-old girl, married to a 70-year-old Iranian (as his fifth wife). Only to become a mother to his child and a widow at an age when life starts for a woman. The life of a hapless widow (Shweta Menon) and her child in an Arab country is no plain sailing, after all.

Asma’s little girl Naval (Reem Khadem) is all grown up and has a progressive outlook to life. Her custodian is a long-bearded man whom she calls Chachu. He lets her study in Europe, instils in her the taste of freedom and the choice to decide the course of her life. From her dialogues, she conveys that her mom is no more. At a life-altering juncture, she guns down her rapist, a higher-up in the intelligence department. She gets put behind bars with a threat precariously hanging over her life – a death sentence.

Don’t we feel like asking for whom these laws are made? A woman destined to yield to the wild fantasies of a patriarchal society is no different from a woman who lived life on her terms and took the life of a man who ripped her off her chastity.

At a pivotal point, the ‘dead’ Asma yanks the veil off the male identity she has been hiding behind, and reappears. The movie simply reminds us no matter how loud we boast about freedom, for women it is a far cry. Let’s hope not another Asma or Naval is born and chained in the future.





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