Drama, Romance, 14 min
Seismologist Pradipta travels to a village for a field research, she experiences an unsuspecting tremor of the heart.
In portraying a love that knows no boundaries and that chooses to exist no matter what, Mittal’s film acts like the eponymous tremor: undetectable at first, but full of the potential to shake a society from the ground-up.
Subtle and profound, Shivangi Mittal’s Tremors presents a blossoming romance between two women from two very different worlds. It’s a masterpiece that looks at a pure kind of love that doesn’t care about the obstacles in its way, be they someone’s marital status or the cultural differences between them. More impressive still, is the way in which Mittal manages to interweave into the narrative a commentary on Indian culture and its relationship with the LGBTQ+ community.
The film begins with Pradipta’s arrival into a small Indian village, where she is to stay with her professor, Adwesh Singh, and his wife, Aditi. A bilingual seismologist, Pradipta seems to have two objectives in mind: to occupy herself as much as possible with her work, and to fend off the insistent calls from an ex-girlfriend whose wedding she’ll soon have to attend. She seems bitter and at first “arrogant,” as described by Aditi. But it doesn’t take long for her to start opening up to the professor’s wife, finding in her someone that loves her fully and without limits.
Pradipta comes from the scientific world, one that’s full of nerdy gadgets and in which people can wear their baggy shirts or sports leggings to work. Aditi, on the other hand, is always dressed in traditional saris, blending with her natural landscapes and moving within them with enviable ease. Unlike Pradipta, who must put together her life after having lost a love, Aditi is someone who has known marriage without knowing love. On paper, they would seem like an unlikely match. Yet on screen, the spark is irrefutable.
Without delving too much into the complexities of homosexuality and its acceptance (or its lack thereof) in Indian society, Mittal’s film is an important one. India only decriminalized homosexuality in 2018, and as things stand, Modi’s government has made no hint of wanting to legalize same-sex marriage. Just like many countries around the world, LGBTQ+ individuals will often be married into a heterosexual and “acceptable” union as a way of “curing” the individual (see article by the Financial Express). Although it’s not explicitly mentioned, this is something we can see in Mittal’s film, both with Aditi’s and the ex-girlfriend’s heterosexual marriage. Pradipta even refers to herself as her ex-girlfriend’s “good friend” (accompanied by air quotations), an evident wink at a society that refuses to see her as more than that. In portraying a love that knows no boundaries and that chooses to exist no matter what, Mittal’s film acts like the eponymous tremor: undetectable at first, but full of the potential to shake a society from the ground-up.
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Isidora has written for various student papers, offering articles from film reviews to opinion pieces that often had Latin American cultural events or productions as the focus of the piece.
She has just graduated from her MPhil in Comparative Literatures from the University of Cambridge, and will be going on to do her PhD in Hispanic Studies in Toronto.