Have you checked out Bollywood on Netflix? Maybe it’s about time you do. Dasvi takes place in a fictitious state in India. While we believed the movie would be a tedious laughter riot – discussing the state of education – the film’s humour addresses some bigger issues. Themes include resolving societal evils such as gender inequality and embracing ‘women in power’.
Dasvi is what people in India refer to when they talk about 10th grade in high school. This made it easy for the audience to predict the premise of the film when it made its Netflix debut. The story sees a middle-aged, illiterate, corrupt, boorish politician complete his 10th-grade studies; while he’s taken into custody for committing multiple frauds.
The movie is set in the Northern part of India, in a land dominated by Haryanavis where Ganga Ram Chaudhary (Abhishek Bachchan) is seen as the ‘classic’ politician, who lacks academic knowledge but knows all the political gimmicks that help him retain his Chief Minister status. His wife, Bimla Devi Chaudhary (Nimrat Kaur) is a housewife who is so intimidated by her husband that her voice is a mere whisper that needs ultra-hearing power.
Bimal Devi is what you call the ‘ideal’ woman in India who treats her husband with the utmost reverence.
But, here’s the twist.
Ganga Ram is arrested and sent to judicial custody and he makes a strategic move, at least that’s what he thinks by declaring his wife to continue his Chief Minister legacy. While the entire state is devastated at his arrest, Bimla Devi displays her true colours as she gets a taste of authority. This drastic change in his wife’s character collapses Ganga Ram’s well-articulated plan of executing his political game through his wife from within the walls of a prison cell.
What is astonishing is not Ganga Ram’s plan backfiring at him but rather how for once the movie chose to explore Bimla Devi’s transformation into a confident, hungry-for-power, corrupt ‘female’ politician who does as she pleases throughout the film.
She knows how to play her cards and gives a tough fight to her own husband who is left speechless on many occasions in the film at his diffident wife’s actions.
In fact, Ganga Ram feels helpless and threatened. This is due to his public declaration that if he fails in his venture to graduate from 10th-grade, he will leave his political regime under his wife’s jurisdiction. Such is the command Bimla Devi has in the entirety of this film.
An Enticing Story
The actor, Nimrat Kaur has many successful films under her sleeve. From starring opposite the late Irrfan Khan in The Lunchbox (2013), where she plays a tenacious woman to portraying a tough supporting role in a historic movie, Airlift (2016), Kaur has delivered such diverse and complex roles with dexterity.
During an interview with First Post, Kaur claimed excitedly that the aspect in the storyline of Dasvi that enticed her the most was the sea change from a soft-spoken wife to a politician who speaks her mind in a General Assembly. She mentioned,”
“I instantly fell in love with the one-line description of her character who evolves into a power-hungry politician from a naïve, demure housewife”.
The movie itself is a light-hearted, satirical comedy, mimicking Indian politicians at their best. In fact, some measures Bimla Devi implements to increase her political popularity are public appearances.
This helps her to maintain a party symbol during her press interactions. For her obsession with posting pictures on Instagram, she appoints a social media manager. The icing on the cake is the construction of her own statue. This lets people (and her husband) know, in an indirect manner, that ‘Bimla Devi is here to stay!’. These are definitely some of the most memorable scenes from the movie.
Her flawless display as a political figure in India is also a hard slap on the current Indian government; which are all talk and no action. The director, Tushar Jalota is a hard-core fan of Nimrat. He tells First Post that Nimrat was destined to play the part in the film. Only she could do justice to this role, he believed.
He discusses Kaur’s relentless work on her dialect. Also, her weight gain fits the character of a ‘desi’ housewife in the north of India. The director knew what he wanted to show his audience from the very start, and didn’t deter from his path. He also adds in the interview that,
“We wanted to make a light, easy-breezy watch. The core idea was to make an entertaining film with great characters and while developing them I tried to make them endearing.”
From girl-next-door to an Authoritative Figure
Yami Gautam put forth a nuanced performance and deserves all the accolades for her performance in Dasvi. Not only is Yami manifesting a fearless cop with perfection, but she is also a no-nonsense type of woman who is razor-focused on bringing down corrupt officials. On several occasions, we see Yami’s character (Jyoti) question Ganga Ram’s political atrocities and methods, when in reality, most female characters in the movies are written off as characters who grow to like the amoral actions of the male lead.
But, not Jyoti, she has her unshakeable ethical pillars to hold on to!
Jyoti is the main official in charge of the prison, not any prison but the one with Ganga Ram in it. Their relationship starts off on the wrong note, but we gradually notice a beautiful friendship evolve between Jyoti and Ganga Ram. She even takes on a pivotal role of mentoring him on his journey to complete 10th-grade. However, the movie shows us an envious Bimla Devi’ who, despite her attempts of bringing down her husband’s political career is smitten by Jyoti’s humble yet hard-headed responses.
The Right Trajectory
The screen time shared by Bimla and Jyoti was extremely hilarious to watch, but Jyoti’s savage replies to Bimla stay with you forever!
There are many obstacles that actor, Yami Gautam has faced as an outsider in the Bollywood film industry. From fighting nepotism to struggling to bag crucial roles that can make a genuine difference, Yami has accomplished so much with immense nobility. Her performance in Dasvi was unparalleled and is a definitive hint that her career is going to take off on the right trajectory!
Here’s the trailer for Dasvi – check out the full feature on Netflix.
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