Women At War, And Peace...
In on-camera interviews and voice over narration, 'Silu' lets us know that she was born Uma Bhujel, the child of a poverty level farming family in the Gorkha District. Her father toiled in the fields of a rich landlord. Her older sister, Kumari, married at age twelve to a man who starved and beat her, hung herself. Her family story was not uncommon.
Uma joined the Maoists at age 18, took on the code name 'Silu' to protect her family's identity and rose through the ranks to become a commander. When the Maoists eventually put down their arms and opted for peaceful change, she was elected to be a representative in the constituent assembly.
In interviews with Uma's family and others we learn of the hardships of poverty, exploitation and hopelessness that gave rise to the rebellion in Nepal and, in particular, why it's the women who are so committed to bringing about change. The film and Uma/Silu's story give us a unique glimpse into what's happening in Nepal, and the understanding that glimpse gives us may be applied to other realms, as well.
First time filmmaker Kiran Deol deftly handles the telling of Uma/Silu's compelling story and all the information concerning conditions in Nepal. It's clear that she cares passionately about her subject. But her constant use of music to underscore changes in locale, event and mood is quite distracting, and actually prevents her from achieving the sense of intimacy and immediacy that would galvanize audiences. For example, patrolling rebel soldiers trying to make their way quietly through thick jungle foliage aren't listening to music -- nor should we be, as we watch them. Don't let that stop you from seeing the movie, though. And, when you do, resist the urge to tap your toes!