Set in colonial India against Gandhi's rise to power, it's the story of 8-year-old Chuyia, who is widowed and sent to a home to live in penitence; once there, Chuyia's feisty presence deeply affects the lives of the other residents.
Ludiana-based Chand gets married to Brampton-based Rocky Singh Dhillon and re-locates to Canada, to live with him and his extended family, consisting of his mom and dad; brother Baldev and his wife, Aman, and two children, Kabir and Loveleen. From the honeymoon stage itself, Chand gets physically abused by Rocky, and despite of bringing in $20K in dowry, she is immediately hired as a laborer even though she is a graduate and her wages are paid to her husband, and is not even permitted to call back home. Tenants occupy the house during the daytime, and the entire Dhillon family usually stay put in a shopping mall. Things only get worse after Rocky brutally assaults her in everyone's presence after she gets into a physical altercation with her mother-in-law. She manages to call back home wanting to return back, only to face discouragement, as her family want Rocky to sponsor her brother, Gurpreet. Things change dramatically after she claims she spotted Sheshnaag in the backyard, while ...Written by
Heaven on Earth is both excruciating and incredibly beautiful. It's this juxtaposition, along with the magical realism, that pulls us in, chains us to our seats, keeps our eyes and ears open, and exposes our hearts to the intensity of the situation. It opens us to Chand's vulnerability and strength, and commands us to be vulnerable and strong in turn.
The story is told elsewhere, so I won't talk about it here. Preity's performance is amazing, and she deserves any award she gets for this. And everyone else in the cast is also terrific. Like all Mehta's film's, it's literate, beautifully shot and edited, and takes on an issue no one really wants to talk about, let alone see up on a big screen.
While it might not be for everyone, Heaven on Earth is for those with the heart and strength to bare the onslaught of Chand's suffering and her escapes into imagination. The film has stayed with me since I saw it about a month ago. I hope it always does.
20 of 37 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this