'Kadvi Hawa' Review: Nila Madhab Panda's thought-provoking film about climate change and farmer suicides

By Murtaza Ali Khan

Featured in IMDb Critic Reviews 

Sanjay Mishra, buffalo, Kadvi Hawa

Kadvi Hawa is the latest offering from Nila Madhab Panda—the acclaimed director of the 2011 National Award-winning children’s film I Am Kalam. This time around, Panda has chosen the all important subject of climate change. Written by Nitin Dixit, Kadvi Hawa stars Sanjay Mishra, Ranvir Shorey, Tillotama Shome, Bhupesh Singh, and Ekta Sawant. The film got a special mention at the 64th National Awards and was screened at the 48th IFFI as part of the Indian Panorama Section. 

In Kadvi Hawa, director Nila Madhab Panda mainly relies on two characters—a blind old man essayed by Sanjay Mishra and a bank loan recovery agent portrayed by Ranvir Shorey—to tell a story that has a much larger scope. Yes, the film is about climate change but it is also about famer suicides. The plight of Indian farmers is well documented and yet it’s a subject that never gets the attention it deserves. Every year in India thousands of farmers commit suicide. Around the election time all political parties make lofty promises to the farming community but these promises are rarely fulfilled after the elections. Sometimes the loans are waved off and subsidies are extended but these are only temporary measures with hardly any long-term benefits for the farmers or their families. Kadvi Hawa touches upon this issue quite effectively and it does so without appearing to be preachy.

Sanjay Mishra, Ranvir Shorey

That both Mishra and Shorey play their parts to a tee doesn’t come as surprise, for both the actors have remarkable range as performers. While Mishra’s part is certainly more challenging of the two, the character essayed by Shorey has more layers. This is arguably the greatest achievement of Mishra’s formidable acting career. He succeeds in breaking the conventional norms associated with essaying a character that’s blind. He devises his own method to convey the character’s blindness and it seems to work like a charm. As for Shorey, he is one actor who never acts badly. His character in Kadvi Hawa is supposed to be a ruthless recovery agent whom the poor villagers see as an angel of death. But, ultimately, he comes across as a tragic figure trying to grapple with serious troubles of his own.

Ranvir Shorey, Bike, Kadvi Hawa

To call Kadvi Hawa a warning wouldn’t really be correct, for we are well past the days of warning as far as climatic change is concerned. Gone are the days when we could afford to treat the issue of climate change with levity. The onus is on us all and it’s high time we started acting on it. Now, Kadvi Hawa bears striking similarities to Satyajit Ray’s Pather Panchali. Also, the realistic manner in which the film is shot may remind some of the classic works of Mrinal Sen. It’s also quite commendable how Nila Madhab Panda has packaged the film. While Kadvi Hawa may not fit into the conventional definition of cinematic entertainment, it is certainly everything that good cinema is expected to be. It is raw, evocative, poignant, and thought-provoking. Kadvi Hawa is a film that needs to be watched. 

Rating: 8/10

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