Directed by: Matia Banu Shuku
Cast: Zakia Bari Momo, Farhana Mithu,
As appalling as it may seem, the term “rape” has become exceedingly common nowadays. News of such physical and mental abuse is found everywhere, but very rarely do we get to hear of such cases from the ones who experienced it. Khola Chithi attempts to break the mold by portraying the story of a rape victim and vividly details her pain, struggles and eventual success in life. While it is, at the end of the day, a work of fiction, this drama doesn't fail to point out how “rape” is still a taboo in our society, and just how ignorant we choose to be towards such an alarming occurrence.
The story, in hindsight, is a simple one. The main character Joyita (played by Momo) is an ill-fated victim of physical molestation. Her father, ashamed of being identified for having a raped daughter, abandons her; leaving only her mother to take care of her. As Joyita's mother struggles to make ends meet, she is shunned by the society because of the label on Joyita that marks her as an outcast. For the same reason, Joyita fails to find a respectable job, as anyone she approaches either labels her as untouchable or blames her for being raped. Such developments distinctively exhibit how victims of rape are mistreated by the common people; and attempt to deliver a moral of social tolerance. The drama leaves the viewer with the message that we should never hesitate to lend a helping hand to these unfortunate victims, and that we should take steps towards eliminating this predicament once and for all.
Getting straight to the point; this drama infuriated me, and not because it was bad by any means. The attitude of the people surrounding Joyita and her mother was downright obnoxious. Everyone claimed Joyita to be at fault for being raped, with no one batting an eye to the fact that she was a helpless victim who was unable to save herself. No one lent a helping hand, and eventually, Joyita rose out of the ashes and found success by writing about her experience in the form of best-seller books. She ended up using her biggest disadvantage as her only advantage; and with her own efforts, turned her life around. The story does paint a picture of encouragement and positivity, but it also painfully reminds the viewer that we really do not give a second thought to the concept of “rape”. The people who mistreat Joyita and her mother are far from being fictional; such people really do exist and the constant jabs and shuns from these characters never fail to hit too close to home. As far as promoting rape awareness goes, Khola Chithi did an excellent job; the way it can make the viewer emotionally invested in the plot exemplifies excellent story-telling. If anyone's still wondering, this natok was named after Joyita's book. She sharing her experience of being mistreated for being a rape victim was her own “open letter” to the ignorant society.
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