Haraamkhor and Other Tales from Small-Town India

Pop Culture

Haraamkhor and Other Tales from Small-Town India

Illustration: Akshita Monga

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ast weekend Shlok Sharma’s Haraamkhor finally released after a protracted battle with the Central Board of Film Certification. The movie, which won the Silver Gateway Award at the MAMI Mumbai Film Festival in 2015, was stuck with the board because of its provocative theme: The “love story” of Sandhya, a 15-year-old girl, and Shyam, her 35-year-old school teacher, set in a small industrial town in Madhya Pradesh. The CBFC’s major objection was that Haraamkhor portrayed its titular character, the teacher played by Nawazuddin Siddiqui, in a poor light.

Yet, the teacher-student relationship is only a loose backdrop for an incision into small-town India. The duo’s relationship is reflected in several other odd pairings: In the friendship between Mintu and Kamal, Sandhya’s tuition mates; in her father’s affair with a nurse he wants to marry; in the marriage between Shyam and Sunita, also his former student.

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