“When we made the film, we didn’t keep the audience’s expectations and preferences in mind. We prioritised whether we, the entire team, liked what we created or not,” said Mejbaur Rahman Sumon, director of Hawa, in a recent interview with Somoy TV.
Throughout the interview, I could perceive Sumon’s commitment and passion for the project regardless of the audience’s expectations of the film. And this very dedication and passion are evident throughout Hawa’s entire runtime.
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Five years in planning and making, Hawa is a film that’ll stand out as an ode to commitment to the art of filmmaking.
Based on local folklore, Hawa is a modern-day fairy tale. When fishermen on the boat of Chan Majhi, played by Chanchal Chowdhury, find a girl mid-sea in their fishing net, they’re initially left uncertain about what to do with her since local superstition suggests its misfortune to have a woman on board. However, as the girl, Gulti, played by Nazifa Tushi, turns out to be alive, they’re left with no option but to continue their journey with her.
As the journey progresses, ill fortune falls upon the boat as they don’t catch any fish the next few days. Throughout the rest of the film, while they try to make it back home, the sea has other plans for Chan Majhi and his men.
The most impeccable features of Hawa are its remarkable cinematography, exceptional production design and stunning colour grading. Each and every frame of the movie is a treat to the eyes. The scenes are beautifully crafted and the framing of some of the scenes truly points out the filmmaker’s understanding of blocking in cinema. Beautiful action and drone shots in some of the scenes act as the cherry on top.
Having seen the trailer and Chanchal’s performances as the antagonist in previous ventures, I went in with the preconceived notion that he’s going to smash it out of the park. Even then, he succeeds in surprising me.
Chan Majhi, a man with crooked morals is despicable throughout the film and Chanchal truly fleshes out the dark side of the role. Even though he’s been excellent in movies like Aynabaji and Moner Manush, Hawa is a film where he truly gets to showboat his range as an actor.
However, what truly makes this movie stand out is the performances of the supporting cast. With perfected accents and nuances of life on sea, characters interact with each other naturally and with ease. While Sariful Razz, Nazifa Tushi and the rest of the crew members are perfect in their roles, Sumon Anwar and Nasir Uddin Khan’s presence on screen stood out.
Filled with metaphors and Easter eggs, Hawa takes its time in building the plot and what’s at stake. With a few unanswered questions, it’s a story left open for interpretation. A slow burn in the first half, the film picks up its pace in the second.
However, Hawa has its issues with pacing in the climax, which might feel a bit underwhelming. But masterful performances from Chanchal and Nasir Uddin Khan fill those gaps at the end.
The hype and expectations surrounding Hawa is difficult to fulfil for any film. Hawa is not a social statement or a film that tries to be philosophical. It’s simply a retelling of local folklore with exceptional performances and outstanding craftsmanship on the part of the filmmaker.
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