Burqa Movie REVIEW: Kalaiyarasan And Mirnaa Starrer Tamil Film Lifts The Veil On Religious Hypocrisy But Fails To Convince

Scroll down to read the review of Sarjun KM’s Tamil film Burqa!

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Burqa Movie REVIEW: Kalaiyarasan And Mirnaa Starrer Tamil Film Lifts The Veil On Religious Hypocrisy But Fails To Convince
Movie Burqa(streaming on A-ha)
Rating: ** ½
Everything is a little too cute in director  Sarjun KM’s Tamil film Burqa. Like several Covid-created films Burqa too depends on restricted space and limited characters. Even the one-residence setting seems like too much space and too little self-expression in this  listless chamber  piece. This two-hander  has some heartwarming moments between two strangers  drawn to each other  on a troubled  night, like  Nanda and  Rajesh Khanna  in  Yash Chopra’s Ittefaq  but far more ambitious in  its politics  of religion  and the religion of politics.There is  no body in the bath tub but there several dying or dead on the streets. But the two  protagonists seem not too perturbed  by the  violence outside.

Mirnaa Menon strikes a pretty  portrait  as  Najma,  a lately-widowed mysterious  veiled  beauty in Chennai  who one  night, finds a wounded rioter  at her  home. It is highly doubtful that any woman, least of all someone  as conservative as Najma, would let the fugitive in.Very conveniently, she  turns out to be  a trained  nurse who quickly stitches his wounds. The gaping ones, I am afraid, are the ones that the film’s director and writer fail to see.
Even more  ridiculous  is  the torrent  of  dialogues that the unlikely house mates  strike up on  Muslim religious  practices(Iddat, for example, which demands  a woman in mourning not to look at other men)   and women’s rights.
It all seems supremely stagey and often times,suspiciously manipulative: young Muslim veiled  woman, rugged Hindu intruder  with a violent past, instant chemistry….

Unlike  action-based two handers like , say Faraar in which Amitabh Bachchan held Sharmila  Tagore a hostage, Burqa is  reliant on  inaction . Once the two protagonists  are locked into the house together, their kinship grows not organically but politically. Surya asks the ‘religiously inappropriate’ bold  questions which  just about hover at the  fringes of non-conservatism. Nothing too controversial here. But two politically innocent  strangers wondering why there are different rules for  different  communities and different genders.So cute,so selfconsciously relevant.

Though the film’s running time is  short, the storytelling feels stretched-out. There is  no real dynamism in the duo’s clash of ideologies , probably because both the characters are too busy playing the  victim card.We are supposed to feel sorry  for  Surya(Kalaiyasaran) because he had a hard childhood(mother a sex workers,etc) eventhough he  openly confesses to Najma that he participates in communal riots for a  price, almost as  if he were talking about street plays.

Rather than ominous(what with rioters running around outside) the mood is labored and insulated. The dialogues feel strained and  embarrassing in their do-or-die determination to prove themselves relevant. While watching this limp drama there is a constant nagging feeling that it has more on  its mind than it is able to express.