In Shyam Bengal’s Hari Bhari (2000), Ghazala (Shabana Azmi) vocally asserts control over her body, her struggles representing the many ways in which religious laws oppress women. In Shamas Nawab Siddiqui’s Miyan Kal Aana, Shagufta is eerily silent, but her internal strife is equally emblematic.

Imtiyaz (Jai Hind Kumar) divorces Shagufta (Manisha Marzara) in a fit of rage, but now wants her back. However, as per the Islamic marriage practice Halala, he cannot remarry her until she has been married to and divorced by another man. He pays a local mullah (Ilyas Khan) an exorbitant sum to marry his wife and consummate the relationship with her on the condition that he will divorce Shagufta the next day. But trouble ensues when the mullah refuses to let Shagufta go.

Filled with pregnant silences and normally comforting domestic sounds that ring with dreadful menace, Miyan Kal Aana is a critique of the undue impact of religious laws on women.

Produced by actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui (the director is his brother), the short film is available for viewing on the YouTube channel Magic IF Films.

Miyan Kal Aana.