Vidya Balan and Shefali Shah ‘thrilled’ our long weekend as they camouflaged into characters who were real and relatable. Amazon Prime Video’s Jalsa starred Balan who played a celebrated journalist Maya Menon for whom Ruksana (Shah) works as a house help, falling prey to class disparities.
The thriller-drama is based on a hit-and-run accident of Ruksana’s daughter, which is woven into the ideas of ethics and vengeance. Maya and Ruksana are two faces of the same coin, oscillating between being fierce and fragile.
Amidst the many scenes that succinctly conveyed deeper messages, one scene that occurred not once, but multiple times, prompted us to sit back and brood over.
Alia, Ruksana’s teenage daughter was run over by a car in the dead of the night, placing her in a life-or-death crisis. The film, from the societal lens, accentuated a ‘bigger’ problem: But why was she out so late?
Our society is so desperate to point fingers at girls and their choices that it turns irrational and insensitive at a point. Thanks to parents like Ruksana who refuse to be swayed by society’s judgments, which is essentially what parents should be like.
This opinion was first formed by a police inspector who believed it was the girl’s ‘fault’ to be out in an area which was unsafe. Alia’s father silently swallowed this comment.
He subsequently shared the same concern to his wife, which elicited a perfect reaction, “So she deserves to be run over?”
Later, the ‘well-wishers’ come into play. Ruksana’s acquaintance, after showcasing her manufactured sympathy, came down to the same question: “But what was she doing out so late?”
This time, Ruksana’s powerful expression was enough clapback and without uttering a word, she clearly insinuated that these judgmental questions aren’t even worthy to be paid heed to.
Victim-blaming is a phenomenon that’s ingrained in our society. Right from the victim’s clothing choices to the time they return home, everything is under scrutiny. No wonder criminals continue to get away with heinous offences.
Instead of chasing down the perpetrator, maligning the victim is always a task on priority. This Suresh Triveni film isn’t primarily about this, but the way it emphasises how inhumane victim blaming is, made Jalsa applaud-worthy.
All images are screenshots from Amazon Prime Video unless specified otherwise.