Gudiyaa brings the negative impact of parental expectation out in the open.
When we think of quality films and South Asians, often times our mind gravitates toward Bollywood. However, what we forget is that talent is not limited to the Hindi film industry. Talent is everywhere – sometimes in our own backyard.
This weekend, I had the pleasure to watch a short film that was filmed right here in the Washington, DC, area, is available on Amazon Prime and features a cast and crew which includes many actors that have been entertaining DC area audiences for decades and are now making a mark globally. This film is titled Gudiyaa and is produced by Manish Chauhan, written and directed by the multi-talented Prerna Saraff Chauhan and stars Amruta Panth, Uday Krishna, Sangeeta Agarwal, Sri Mirajkar, Chetna Gola, Fatima Razi, Eesha Chauhan, Shweta Shankar and Trevor Grote.
Gudiyaa tells the tale of Roshni aka Gudiyaa, a young, carefree and free-spirited girl who becomes the victim of tradition and parental expectation. As a result, we meet a host of characters who play an impactful role in the terrible predicament Roshni finds herself in. Without going into spoilers, the film tackles an uncomfortable subject and reaches a clap-worthy conclusion. What is Roshni’s predicament? Why is she in it? Can she be saved? Who is right and who is wrong? To find out, watch Gudiyaa.
Casting-wise, the film has a stellar cast who visually fit the mould of the characters they are playing. In other words, if one were to imagine what these characters would look like, each of the performers fit those roles to a T. Amruta Panth puts in an energetic performance as the title character, while the ever-excellent Sri Mirajkar and Sangeeta Agarwal put in a very believable performance as Gudiyaa’s parents.
Uday Krishna and Chetna Gola play the role of the menacing husband and mother-in-law with wonderful facial expressions and one can tell that these actors are having tremendous fun with their roles. Fatima Razi, Shweta Shankar and Trevor Grote also each do a tremendous amount of justice to their roles.
A particularly special mention must go to young Eesha Chauhan. Although she does not have a huge role, she acts like a complete pro. She has the subtlety and relatability that the character needed to portray and she remains one of the most memorable characters in the film simply by her subtle performance with expressions that hit the right note for the film. At such a young age, she has displayed tremendous talent, only a sign of the amazing performances she will give in the future.
Prerna Saraff Chauhan must be applauded for bringing this sensitive issue of the negative impact of parental expectation out in the open. Often times, the South Asian community feels reluctant to talk about what would happen if an arranged marriage goes wrong. However, what really got me to appreciate this film even more was its emotional climax. I don’t want to ruin anything, but it is bound to bring tears to your eyes. A character shows a side of themselves which was missing before, and the presentation of this new side makes you realize the emotion and shades that the human personality truly has, and what makes us bring out our humanity in a positive way. I am sure Mrs. Chauhan will delight us with many more films in the future and I look forward to seeing what more she has to offer given the merits of this film from the writing and directing standpoint.
I give this film a 4/5 for its talented cast, story and emotional ending. You can stream it today on Amazon Prime. Don’t miss it!
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