The story of Phoolwa starts with a voiceover which states that - every place in India has a story of it's own. Similar is the case with Chambal and it is said that people who have not been accepted by anybody else or any other place, has always been accepted by Chambal. The river of Chambal determines the fate of people and draws a line between their reality and dreams.
All the villagers have gathered around the Kali Temple and a group of people are pulling a calf, which has its head smeared with sindoor, towards the sacrifical altar. A small girl is watching the proceedings and feels very sad for the calf. She asks the woman standing beside her as to why the calf is going to be sacrificed. The woman answers that it's going to please the Goddess. The child counter questions that it's the same Goddess who has created the calf as well.
The child stops when she hears the assembled villagers chant the name of Thakur Charandas, who bare-bodied comes to the temple for the Puja. The pandit is about to put a tilak on his forehead when Charandas stops him, and tells him that pure colour is derived from blood only. And once the sacrifice is made, the Pandit then may put a mark on his forehead with the blood. he then picks up the sword, carried by his follower in a silver tray, and is about to strike, when a huge sound is heard.
The young girl who is watching all these is petrified and closes her eyes. When she opens, she finds that the bullet-ridden Thankur has fallen on the floor of the temple, the calf is fine and that people all around are rushing towards their home. She also sees that a group of men, with rifles in their hands, have taken control of the situation.
The Pandit urges the head dacoit to let the sacrifice be made as otherwise Devi Maa would be unhappy. The lead man tells him that the death of Thakur Charandas is a sacrifice itself and that the Devi is already happy. He then urges his other group members to go and find the otehr members of the Thakur family, and not to harm the old, the women and the children. One of the dacoits encounters a group of women who are afraid. He tells them that though they are dacoits, they very well know how to honour women and moves away.
It is shown that their Leader is climbing up the stairs of the temple and stops in front of the Thakur's body. With her flowing hair, tied with a band, she takes on the form og Goddess Kaali. She later notices the calf still tied to the post. She picks up the sword and brings it down with a sweep. The young girl, hiding behind the walls and watching everything, shuts her eyes again but opens them when she hears the calf call. She sees the calf running down the temple stairs; happily, she claps her hand. This attracts the attention of the Dacoit Leader and the others and the child is terrified.She slips down on the floor while the female dacoit walks towards her, with the sword in her hand. On reaching the girl, the female dacoit keeps the sword aside and removes her head band. She then sits down beside her and asks the child ehr name. The child anwers that her name is Neha.
The female dacoit asks why she is not in school. To this the child answers that her Father doesn't want to send her to school. The female dacoit tells the girl to tell her Mother to send her to school; she then removes a heavy gold chain that she was wearing around ehr neck, and gives it to the child, telling her to keep it safe. There is a flower tattoo on the hand of the female dacoit.
She then gets up to go up the stairs once again when she is stopped by the child who asks the dacoit her name. The dacoit stops in her path and turns back, when she hears her name reverbrating through her mind. She remembers someone calling her Phoolwa.
In the flashback, a young girl is searching for Phoolwa. She asks a lot of people in the village about Phoolwa's whereabouts when finally she finds Phoolwa tying threads around her favourite neem tree.Phoolwa is excited since she was going to the city the next day with her Father and was also enjoying the fact that people were asking her to get stuff for them from the city. Phoolwa's friend also asks for a bindi. Phoolwa replies that since she would have toget so much stuff for people, she wouldn't be able to carry a bindi back. Phoolwa's friend tells her that she can always wear it on her forehead and bring it back, instead of carrying it. The two friends giggle and joke around, when a middle-aged woman comes and hold them both by their ears. She accuses them of trespassing on her land while Phoolwa says that her Father insisits that the neem tree is on their land and not on their neighbour's. The woman slaps Phoolwa and is about to do so again when the local kulfiwala, Ramsharan, stops her by offering her a free kulfi and also by reminding the woman that she should not involve herself with the kids.
Once the woman goes away, he offers Phoolwa and her friend ice candies of their choice. Phoolwa retorsts bys aying that though Ramsharan had promised to take her to the city, he has never fulfilled his promise. However, she informed that she was going to the city the next day and asked him what she should get for him from there. Ramsharan jokingly tells her that she should get a motorbike for him since he is tired of pedalling his cycle all day along. Phoolwa agrees to get him a bike. Once Ramsharan is gone, Phoolwa remembers that she has to collect her brother from school and rushes there. Only to find her brother enagaged in a kabaddi match with some other students. Once the game is over, the children head back towards home and Phoolwa tells her brother to study properly. Her brother tells him that if she is so interested ins tudies, then she should go to school herself and not lecture him about the importance of education, since she is not his Mother.
The friendly banter continues when Phoolwa's friend calls her to tell that her Father is returning. Phoolwa runs towards the bank of the river and sees his Father shoring the boat. The two girls help him in tying the boat to the post in the shore. It seems that the Thakurain was not well and hence the Thakur and his son had taken her to the city hospital. The Thakurain jokingly tells Phoolwa that in old age, the best way to go to the city is to fall ill. Phoolwa's friend, who belongs to a poor family, and haven't eaten for days whispers to her own Father that if the Thakurain dies, then he would get some work to supply wood and then they would be able to eat heartily.
The Thakur and his son gets off the boat, only to be stopped by a call from Phoolwa's Father. The younger Thakur returns and slaps Phoolwa's Father, asking how could he ask for money when his Grandmother was ill. Phoolwa and others are stunned. The senior Thakur also tells Phoolwa's Father that it is not correct to call anyone from back, especially for money. Phoolwa's Father tells them that he did not want money, but wanted to give back the rifle that they have left behind in the boat.
A teary Phoolwa runs to the boat, retrieves the rifle and comes to give it to the Thakur. The Senior Thakur is not at all happy and whispers to Phoolwa's Father, that his daughter that given them the rifle back and he hoped that in future, no alliances would be formed between the families.
Liked the acting of the actors. The tempo is good, hope it is maintained through.
P.S. : friends, there were noa d breaks hence remembering all and writing them is a bit difficult. I am sorry if I missed anything.
Edited by poetic - 11 January 2011 at 12:09am