When you sit for a movie that sets you still for the entire runtime, for that one moment of twist that will set things ‘right’ and yet you find yourself leaving with an unforeseen twist- the movie can be called successful in many terms, right?
Abdullah Mohammad Saad’s Rehana Maryam Noor will pour a bucket of cold water down your nerves in terms of acting, cinematography and expectedly unexpected ending.
The movie powerfully distilled and distributed female rage in its storyline for the justice of something that has become the curse today.
The film tells the tale of how sexual harassment has become so prominent in every step that it eats justice like hidden but well-spotted mites.
Rehana Maryam Noor is a riveting social drama about a female doctor who demands justice in a case of sexual assault at a medical school in Dhaka. But it is nowhere near the common win-lose situation that mainstream films sometimes simplify.
The core point of attraction is the unignorable complexity of the protagonist Rehana, who at times makes the audience question their own minds.
Set in a medical college, the four walls bottle the movie, with every nook and corner subtly adorning frames that will play your mind like a thriller movie.
Rehana packs a seething ‘enough is enough’ message into almost every twist of a snowballing tale that put the audience in dilemmatic questions and asks them to consider whether some of the protagonist’s choices can justify her goal of bringing a sexual predator to account.
Neither condemning nor approving the actions of Dr Rehana Maryam Noor (Azmeri Haque Badhon), Saad’s well-tuned screenplay does an exemplary job by allowing the audience to interpret how her decisions are shaped and influenced by the gigantic and destabilising pressure she encounters as a single mother, daughter, sister and professional woman in a painstakingly patriarchal society.
Not spoiling the story for the potential viewers, Rehana Maryam Noor does the job of a captivating, thought-provoking and visually thrilling movie that has been strengthened by the performance of its actors.
Azmari Haque Badhon has done justice to the character of Rehana in every way possible, the evidence being the audience judging their own minds on a scale of ethics and sanity.
The relentless journey to keep her head on course and the motivating yet impulsive recklessness is the portrayal of reality.
The child performer Afia Jahan Jaima, who plays the role of Rehana’s daughter Emu, steals the movie with her wonderful acting skills that connect deeply with the audiences.
Emu’s inheritance of her mother’s feisty streak and intolerance of any kind of bullying and injustice painstakingly tells us how our young daughters are still pressurised by the patriarchal society.
It would have been easy for the story to stick with the comfortable option of portraying Rehana as a shining feminist crusader engaged in a straightforward battle for the rights of vulnerable young women.
But from this point, the charred version of the polished portrayal of the difficulties faced is depicted here. The movie steers unflinchingly into much more difficult and murky territories, putting up a strong case for viewers to remain invested in Rehana’s story and the bigger issues it raises.
The movie ends without any musical components, in a grim but indulging scene, with the further complexity of Rehana’s role as a mother.
The unexpected ending puts the audience at shunning, with questions still prominent enough to reign–Rehana Maryam Noor portrays the distorted mental health issues succumbing each one of us to question our ethics and reality of actions.
Tahseen Nower Prachi is a student of Mass Communication and Journalism at the University of Dhaka.