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Paggalait Netflix Review: A subtle yet sharp take on a tragedy that befalls a woman.

Her husband dies, she is reborn.

Paggalit Netflix Review: A subtle yet a sharp take on a tragedy that befalls a woman.
Paggalit Netflix Review Bitchingfilms

Pagglait Netflix (2021)

Director: Umesh Bist

Writer: Umesh Bist

Starring: Sanya Malhotra, Ashutosh Rana, Sheeba Chadda, Raghubir Yadav, Sayani Gupta

Now streaming on Netflix

One line movie summary

Pagglait is a dark comedy about a recently widowed young woman who had been married for only five months and is unable to mourn her husband's death.

About: Pagglait

Released on Netflix, Pagglait is a story of a woman who is struck by the greatest tragedy that can befall a woman in a typical patriarchal Indian family. Umesh Bist's writing is extremely nuanced and captures many moments which defines our approach towards a young widow and how she is looked at as a liability. It is a story that transcends above the average Bollywood fantasy.    


Paggalit, a dark comedy-drama revolves around Sandhya (Sanya Malhotra) who cannot bring herself to grieve the untimely death of her husband Astik. Her character is plain and simple without a tint of any attitude. Although she has a master's degree in English, she is financially dependent on her husband and she listens and does what is told to her by her parents and her in-laws. She is so unaffected by the incident that she lies in her bed scrolling through Facebook, reading comments. She confesses innocently in front of her best friend Nazia (Shruti Sharma) that she does not feel bad for her husband's demise and she feels hungry all the time. It is later shown that hers was a loveless marriage and her husband did not even have a real conversation with her even once in those five months of their marriage. She later discovers her husband's secret while going through some of his documents that change a lot of things in how she perceives the series of events and the drama that unfolds. She finally understands the reason why her husband never warmed up to her but the question lingers till the end that whether she will accept the truth and let go of everything or will she keep on holding her grudge?

Astik's parents Shivendra Giri (Ashutosh Rana) and Usha Giri (Sheeba Chaddha) who have lost their beloved son, their support; both emotionally and financially, and are unable to cope up with the loss. They are left with no one to support them financially and they cannot decide what exactly to cry for. They have to look at the practical details while still mourning the death of their son. They are truly good-hearted people, but circumstances push them to be manipulative. Their younger son Alok is however angry over the fact that he has to shave his head, perform all the rituals for his brother, has to sleep on a mattress, and eat only Satvik food since he has to perform the final rites of his elder brother.  

The film also showcases an extended family that has a Tayyaji (Ragubir Yadav), a truly hypocritical and patriarchal uncle, who follows the rituals according to his convenience. Tayyaji asks Alok not to smoke or drink in those 13 days after his brother's demise as it is considered impure and explains to him that the soul stays for 10 days on Earth and then leaves for the ultimate journey after his ashes are disposed off in the river Ganga. However, his character is such a hypocrite that he himself drinks at night.       

Shivendra's younger brother Tarun Giri (Rajesh Tailang) who instead of offering comfort and solace to his elder brother, is disturbed because of the fact that Shivendra left the Family Whatsaap group created by Tarun's wife Rashmi (Ananya Khare). Shivndra's sister Janaki (Yamini Singh) who bitches and gossips about everyone and her husband Ghanshyam (Jameel Khan) who likes to show off his knowledge by quoting Shakspeare for no reason cannot get more real. The extended family projects a facade of grief while they too are unaffected by Astik'sd death.   

Akanksha Roy (Sayani Gupta) is Astik's colleague who is a smart, sophisticated and independent working woman. After Astik's death, her life gets entangled with Sandhya's. She is awestruck by Akanksha's persona and wants to become like her. Akanksha eventually becomes a crucial character in inspiring Sandhya to break free from the shackles and take control of her own life and make her own decisions. 

Funnily, Astik's grandmother who has Alzheimers is perhaps the only sane character in the film who smiles at everyone and keeps calling for Usha all the time.  


The script written by Umesh Bist is so powerful and captures the absurdity and traits of average Indian families from small towns. Bist's writing shines in the barbs that the family throw at each other. It is so real in its portrayal that it is absolutely relatable. Sanya Malhotra effortlessly portrays Sandhya's simplicity and innocence. Sandhya is expected to act in a certain manner but she does not know how to feel about the death of her husband who never loved her. Ashutosh Rana as Astik's father and  Sheeba Chaddha as Astik's mother both are terrific. He gets into the skin of the character of a father who has lost his young son and does all that he can to hold his emotions together. The way he modulates his voice in different scenarios takes us through the journey of the gamut of emotions. Raghubir Yadav as Tayaji is phenomenal too. The family is orthodox who never misses an opportunity to tell everyone how open-minded they are. Yet, when one of Astik's cousins utters the word "Periods" and "Pads" Tayyaji gets angry and says "Aur dikhao Padman".These sharp yet subtle moments make the film what it is.

Pagglait's music is terrific too. Arijit Singh does full justice as it is his first venture as a composer.

The story makes us think that why an able-bodied well-educated woman would depend financially on a man? Why is it obvious that a man expected to earn and be a provider but a woman has to fight to become one? Why is it expected of girls to act and behave in a certain way? Why is a widow a liability? Is she just an object that you can play with? 

This film is a well-intended entertainer which relies on subtle sarcasm. It is definitely way above the average Bollywood fantasy films. 

It would not be wrong to say that Sandhya's character arc reminded me of Kangana Ranaut's Queen. 

Jab ladki log ko akal ati hai na, sab unhe Pagglait hi kehtey hai

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