TIFF 2023’s ‘A Match’, portrays India’s patriarchal traditions, arranged marriages

A Match

#TIFF2023, #AMatch; #MarathiFilm

Toronto/CMEDIA: Directed, produced, and screenplayed byJayant Digambar Somalkar’s TIFF 2023 debut Marathi feature film ‘A Match’ portrays a world of patriarchal traditions presenting arranged marriage as the only option for young women’s self-betterment.

The main female cast, Savita (Nandini Chikte) is shown in many intimidating interviews by families of suitors with topics ranging from her education to her maternal ancestry to her exact height.  But she has to face rejection every time for being too dark-skinned, too short, too poor, and  too self-possessed. Savita cherishes her studies and is in her third year of a BA in sociology but her remote marital prospects as well as her cotton farmer father’s poor financial conditions contribute to her family’s regarding her education as superfluous.

Image credit: TIFF

Shot in Somalkar’s home village of Dongargaon, India, A Match revolves round Savita and presents its cast of non-actors as they work, cook, gossip, and participate in various everyday rituals.

In spite of the film’s real-life immediacy, the film also benefits from Somalkar’s romantic tension between Savita and her admirer, her school teacher, which causes everything to slow down.

Image credit: A Match

In one scene, the teacher asks students if they are familiar with the female empowerment concept but gets a very poor response with fewer affirmative answers. 

The irony of the situation is that the very teacher who vouches for women empowerment is in love with Savita and does not realize at that time that the real change of women empowerment is on its way.

The story ends when after several intimidating interviews, Savita loses patience and slaps the person who questions her thus portraying her women empowerment.

Somalkar’s A Match has been awarded the 2023 NETPAC winner. The 2023 NETPAC jury released the following statement: ” The director worked with a cast of non-actors that not only resulted in a stellar performance, but achieved a level of authenticity needed to drive home the social message…immersive portrayal of life in an Indian village, highlighting its oppressive patriarchal customs.”

The casts of the film are: Nandini Chikte, Taranath Khiratkar (as Teacher). Sangita Sonekar, Suyog Dhawas, Sandip Somalkar, Sandip Parkhi, Swati Ulmale. and Gauri Badki.

The film was executive produced by Ashish Narkhedkar in Dhun, Cinematographed by Manoj Karmakar and edited by Abhijit Deshpande.

(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)