Kadwi Hawa (Dark wind or bitter wind) presents an emotional aspect of climate change in a powerful movie directed by Nila Madhab Panda who won hearts with his 2017 movie. The movie is set up in the ravines and dryland of Chambal where it has not rained for last 15 years. The movie talks about the challenges posed by climate change if no action is taken. The worst hit will be poor since they don’t have resources to mitigate the risk of climate change.
The movie has some of the finest talents in bollywood. Every scene seems realistic. This is the kind of movie which is hard to watch but necessary to be seen.
The movie opens with the worry of Hedu (Sanjai Mishra) who is rushing towards bank to enquire about loan that is to be repaid by his son, Mukund. He is an old, blind man who explores the thorny bushes with his stick in hand. The scenes are so realistic in the movie that the lower end of Mishra’s stick is eroded. Either a used stick has been used or Sanjai has worn the stick with practice, either way it shows attention to details.
The entire scene shows the rawness of Indian villages and most importantly, Bundelkhand villages. Hedu walks through the ravines of Bundelkhand and you can see the dryness in the landscape. So much so more that it wants you search for water around you. In reality, Bundelkhand is like that.
Hedu gets on the bus with much efforts. It also shows the emotional aspect of being a specially abled person. The world of normal people doesn’t have a space for them, that’s what it indicates. Imagine not being able to see for day, do you think it will be easy? No! The infrastructural setup doesn’t make it easy for a blind person to explore, which is an unfortunate thing.
He then enters a bank in which nobody cares about anything other than their money. He enquires but he is pushed away and rejected, he sleeps on the bench only to be woken up by the peon in office after he shuts everything down. While he is leaving, he is stopped by a man, Gunnu babu (Ranveer Shorey) who asks him his details and opens his file but when Hedu declares the he is here to just enquire about the loan and not to pay the installment, Gunnu fumes and shoos him away.
Gunnu Babu is a recovery agent. As he tells in the movie later, he is given double commission for recovery in village Mahua, the village of Hedu.
Then is shown suicide by a farmer who takes this step after being unable to repay loan. This happens due to poor agricultural produce that season.
“Teacher: how many season are there in a year?
Teacher: wrong, there are three.
Student: but there are only two, summer and winter
Teacher: you missed out rainy season
Student: but it doesn’t rain here, just showers for 4-5 days in a year”
Teacher frowns and scolds the student.
This scene was full of dark comedy where one can laugh over the innocence of the student but what about the mockery that we are making of nature? Bundelkhand never used to be the same. It had lush vegetation but after years, it receives no rainfall now. There is no avenue of employment in Bundelkhand and agriculture is in grave state since there is no rainfall and no artificial irrigation method. This is the reason why maximum farmer suicides in India happen in Vidarbha and Bundelkhand.
Hedu repetitively talks of hawa- the air, the climate and reminisces old days when there used to be moisture in the air which he calls “charon dishaon se khushboo” which essentially means scent from all four directions.
Hedu is very much worried about the future of his son. He doesn’t want the same fate for his son, a suicide. He tries every possible method to keep his son away from the interventions of bank employees so that he doesn’t succumb and kill himself. For the same reason, he enters in an unholy nexus with Gunnu to inform him about various people in the village from which he can recover his loans on the condition that Gunnu would spare his son.
The deal is sealed and works for a while until a day when Hedu’s son, Mukund doesn’t not return home.
Hedu runs in the dark, into the ravines, searches for his son, asks the soil to return him his son. I’m sure that scene will move you to tears.
Gunnu chases Hedu everywhere to restart reclaiming loans. But Hedu realises why the nexus was unholy, his son has been jinxed. He tells Gunnu he cannot help more. This brings out a softer side of Gunnu. He has been shown as someone very rude and hard skinned but this event shows the demons he is possessed by. The demon of climate change.
His home in Odisha was claimed by sea in due to climate change. His father died of grief and his mother still searches for the home and her husband under sea. His family is still in danger. He has to bring his family here so that they can be safe here.
After having lost his argument with Hedu, Gunnu returns to his room to find the news of a cyclone in his hometown, again due to climate change and its not clear in the movie but indications suggest that his family dies in the cyclone. This is how the movie ends. This is how both men lose their families to climate change.
The most ironical thing in the movie is that Hedu finds Odisha a dream land where there is water every where and Gunnu finds Bundelkhand as the paradise since there is no water. The truth is, both want an escape from climate change.
United nations estimates that there will be a million climate refugees or more by 2050 as sea levels rise and places become drier. While the temperate regions would benefit for a short amount of time but it will be disastrous for the entire world in the longer run.
If this all is not stopped, we will head towards sixth mass extinction which will be caused more by men than nature.
Can we act more responsible?
The entire debacle of climate change is aptly put by Gulzar who says
Seasons seem to hit by drought
Seasons are becoming homeless.
We have rendered them homeless.