A Fangirl’s Movie Review: Pagglait

I recently watched the Indian movie Pagglait on Netflix and have many thoughts! Come find out if this might be a movie you want to watch and whether I felt it was worth recommending in my latest Bollywood movie review.

Synopsis: Widowed soon after marriage, a young woman grapples with an inability to grieve, quirky relatives and a startling discovery about her late husband. (IMDb)

I went in watching this movie, not really knowing what to expect. From the first minute, it was obvious that this movie was different than some of the previous Indian movies that I have reviewed. And while I will share my thoughts about the show, keep in mind that I am going in with very little knowledge of the cultural issues that it is discussing. I can grasp some of the larger themes, but I am sure that I will miss many of the nuances.

What Worked:

I loved the cinematography of this film. It was a visual delight with the pops of color in the sets. While many of the clothes were more subdued, if you pay attention, you will see the color brought forth in the furniture, the architecture, and everyday scenery. It helped keep the subdued topic of the 13-day wake from being overpowering. I never felt depressed while watching, even when so many of the people were truly despairing the loss of a loved one.

There were so many great moments of cultural knowledge shared within these two hours. Being from another country, I never really knew any of the funeral traditions that I witnessed in the movie. It was fascinating and I really enjoyed how well the character’s shared the hows and whys to someone who might not understand them.

Sandhya Giri’s (Sanya Malhotra) performance was by far the breakout of the film. Her ability to portray a young widow finding her way between tradition and a need for independence was very well done. She had several great moments where she discusses her problems with grieving and how it isn’t the same as everyone else’s that really stood out. While everyone else is forgettable, she shines and carries the film single-handed.

What Didn’t Work

We jump straight into the story immediately following the son/husband’s death as the family prepares for the 13 days of mourning. The sudden influx of so many different characters and their positions in the family was often confusing. It would probably make more sense with a second viewing, but if you don’t enjoy the film, that is way too much work for continuity.

Sandhya Giri’s interactions with the women her husband actually loved were more awkward than enlightening. They made a lot of effort to point out that he was emotionally cheating and never actually acted on any bad behavior after his marriage. But using that to show how Sandhya wants to become a more modern girl rather than living in a traditional family was super clunky and awkward. I personally didn’t enjoy the way they went about her journey of finding herself.

The family relations and how they expect women to behave and the cultural issues with being a dutiful daughter/wife/daughter-in-law also was up and down. There were several really strong scenes, but they were often followed by a lot of awkward filler. I think the story just wanted to add too much in and often had some problems with the pacing, which kept me from really becoming engrossed in the narrative.

Final Thoughts:

I enjoyed this movie and am glad I watched it from a cultural traditions and cinematography standpoint. I’m a huge fan of learning about different countries and cultures, so I felt that i got a lot of payout from watching. However, if that isn’t your thing and you are more interested in the story…this movie might be a skip. I would give it a 6.5/10 but probably won’t ever watch it a second time.

Til my next cinematic journey,


Dramas With a Side of Kimchi

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