Monday, April 01, 2019

Gone Kesh 

Hair Hassles

In its quest to explore unseen-- in cinema— places in India, Qasim Khallow’s Gone Kesh goes to the small hill station of Siliguri, though the story of a young woman’s travails could have been set anywhere. 
It’s a charming but too realistic story, that is limited by the narrowness of its scope—losing hair could be traumatic for anyone, but once it is established that Enakshi Dasgupta (Shweta Tripathi) goes through most of her school days being mocked for her bald patches, there is not much more to add to that ordeal. 
Enakshi and her loving parents (Vipin Sharma- Deepika Amin) do all they can to find a cure, but their biggest concern revolves around the question: Who will marry a bald girl? And sure enough Enakshi keeps getting rejected by potential grooms.
Khallow portrays the mundane existence of the middle class Sengupta family, with a marked lack of dramatic highs and lows; there is one mildly funny scene in which a man who has come to see her, requests her to dance to a Bollywood song, but the darkly comic potential of the story is never realized. Neither is the self-esteem crushing of a girl’s vanity portrayed with any depth.
The parents take her to a succession of doctors, and one of them diagnoses her condition as alopecia--which is hardly a rare condition! The hormonal cure is worse than the ailment, and finally Enakshi realizes the drain her hair problem is on her father’s meagre resources, and accepts the inevitability of wearing a wig.
She works as a salesgirl in a mall, has a silent admirer in Sujoy (Jitendra Kumar) and hopes to be a dancer, but her baldness holds her back. Strange that the viewer is told about her passion for dance—she quits her job to participate in a competition-- but she is never seen dancing.  Her happily-ever-after is centred around the love of a man who is not put off her condition.
Still, the film is appealing because everyone who understands how hung-up on looks today’s society is, would sympathise with Enakshi. The parents, with their modest ambition of travelling by plane once and seeing the Taj Mahal, are utterly endearing. Sharma and Amin are quietly impressive, without hitting a single false note.  Tripathi and Kumar deliver confident performances too, well cast as the boy and girl next door, who are heroic in their own way.

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