Posted on Friday, May 11th, 2018 by Siddhant Adlakha
A row of women, bent over on the river bank, uniform, toiling away at dirty laundry on the outskirts of their village. One of them, Yamuna (Kalyanee Mulay) breaks formation. She turns to dive into the water, and to free herself from the shackles of tradition and gendered expectation. The mere swerve of her foot towards the river feels like an enormous gesture. As she swims to a quiet inlet, she spies on another woman, swinging from the branches, youthful, carefree and detached from concern. But in a moment, that freedom feels curtailed, when a man swims up to the woman on the tree. He is her lover, but there’s something amiss about the setting. Something intrusive about this male presence, sexualizing a moment that ought to feel untethered from time.
Within seconds and without words, Ravi Jadhav’s Marathi-language Nude establishes its emotional stakes, presenting a pristine vision of freedom before snatching it away. The rest of its runtime – a melodic 110 minutes that you’d wish lasted longer – follows Yamuna trying to win back this fleeting feeling. First, by escaping her abusive husband and moving to Mumbai. Next, by becoming a nude model at a college of the arts.