DRAUPADI UNLEASHED – A Review by Cynthia Flores
This movie has a strong, well-known cast, and the cinematography by Brando D. Hyde is lush and inviting. It’s based on the popular novel of the same name by Nisha Sabharwal. She not only co-directs this film, but she also narrates it. This is Hollywood’s first look at the upper-class India of old. All through the facets of romance, murder, intrigue, and mystery. The film is an ambitious romance set in the waning years of the British Raj in Quetta’s aristocratic city in India circa the 1930s. The town was called the Little London of its time.
Draupadi Unleashed is the story of a sixteen-year-old girl named Indira (Salena Qureshi). Her coming of age is set against the background of the struggle of three generations of women in a male-dominated world. It’s a world where arranged marriages are still the norm, as is total submission to the dictates of fathers and husbands. This romantic story is steeped with mystery rooted in mysticism.
Indira finds herself torn between her love for her cousin Gautam (Taaha Shah) and her duty to follow through with an arranged marriage to Amar (Dominic Rains). Her mother, Sita (Melanie Chandra), and grandmother Amma (Anna George) have set up this good match with this older prosperous man. Also, mixing the pot and stirring up more trouble is the manipulating and powerful swami Manu (Cas Anvar). Through Indira’s heartbreaking journey to self-discovery, long-held secrets are brought to light. Will she discover the strength within herself to break free? You will just have to watch the movie to find out.
Even though Draupadi Unleashed makes a few references towards social censure and throws in bits of mysticism, it never pretends to be anything more than an excellent soap opera. I have no problem with that. I like chick flicks, and the costumes in this film are brilliant. Unfortunately, in true romance novel genre style, they kept the plot line a bit predictable. The passions of this story unfold over cocktails and dinner, with stolen meetings in hallways and illicit embraces in the shadows. My only true gripe over the film is that they’re pretty tame when the sex scenes actually happen. I was expecting more of an erotic romance style with lots of heat and steam. Instead, this movie is more of the young adult romance variety without much nudity.
I give Draupadi Unleashed a 3.7 out of 5-star rating. It’s fun to see the lavishness of that time in India.
Directed by: Tony Stopperan, Nisha Sabharwal
Written by: Nisha Sabharwal, (novel by) Tony Stopperan
Selig Rating 3.7 Stars
Running Time: 1:50min
Limited Release: September 25th AMC Dine-In Stonebriar 24
Starring: Salena Qureshi, Cas Anvar, Shah Badusha, Abi Bais, Dominic Rains
The Selig Rating Scale:
5 Stars – Excellent movie, well worth the price.
4 Stars – Good movie
3 Stars – OK movie
2 Stars – No need to rush. Save it for a rainy day.
1 Star – Good that I saw it on the big screen but wish I hadn’t paid for it.