By Neeraj Nanda
MELBOURNE, 4 April 2020: In 2014 when ‘Queen’ was released and today (2020) have about six years in between but ‘Queen’ on the big screen and ‘Unorthodox ‘on Netflix, with its four episodes, crisscross paths where patriarchy remains a driving force and the protagonists choose the path of freedom.
During the IFFM media conference in Melbourne, I told Kangana about ‘Queen’ being her best movie. A Punjabi woman charts her honeymoon alone one day before marriage and beats the ‘sati-savatri’ image. Israeli actress Esty (Sara Haas), escapes a one-year-old arranged marriage with Yanky (Amit Ragav) from her Satmar Jewish community in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York to Berlin, where her estranged mum lives. The hubby with a cousin goes searching for her to Berlin.
In Berlin, Esty struggles and tries to peruse her passion for music and singing, which was frowned by her tight-knit orthodox community. Her liberating zeal takes many a form and like Kangna in ‘Queen’, she has a freedom-loving friends group.
Esty’s step by step cultural shift from a suppressed creature to integration in Berlin’s freedom ethos is the highlight of the series. Her first time on the beach, eating a ham sandwich, parties, wearing a Jean and singing in public speak for themselves. It’s the steady demise of orthodoxy with life freeing itself from regressive personal regulations.
This beautifully crafted series directed by Maria Schrader with powerful performances made good and satisfying watching during my self-decided Carona self-isolation. Based on ‘Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots’ by Deborah Feldman, ‘Unorthodox’ is endlessly touching, realistic and gives one hope in a rather complex world.
Written by Anna Winger, Alexa Karolinski, Daniel Hendler, Eli Rosen and Deoborah Feldman, ‘Unorthodox’ is streaming on NETFLIX.