“Hair is everything. We wish it wasn’t so we could actually think about something else occasionally. But it is. It’s the difference between a good day and a bad day,” as Phoebe Waller Bridge’s Fleabag puts it. Hair is never just hair, hair is an expression of our identities. We spend time and money to create hair that signifies who we are in the world. Going to the salon can be a therapeutic experience for some people and an escape for others. This much is obvious in Nitya Misra’s short film, The Salon.
The movie stars veteran Kannada actor Sudha Belawadi as Nimmi and B. Suresh as her deceased husband. Widowed Nimmi strikes up a tentative conversation with her young hairstylist, Nelson, played by Mizo newcomer Eric Leivang.
Conflicted about the new changes in her life, what follows is a short but meaningful interaction between two strangers that results in a connection between two people whose lives are in a state of flux. The fact that they are from completely different backgrounds, in two different stages in their lives leads to an exploration of conversations that we have with others and with ourselves. Through the conversation and the haircut, Nimmi works through her feelings of loss, to come to terms with her husband’s death.
Produced by UA Kathachitra’s Ashok Mahapatra, this is director and writer Nitya Misra’s debut film. Misra says, “I wrote it because I saw a real-life interaction between a middle-aged woman and her hairstylist. They were having an intimate conversation and I wondered what they were talking about.”
The film, currently on the film festival circuit, explores the identity conflict of Indian women from defining themselves as a mother, wife, or daughter to stop playing these roles and instead redefining themselves was important. There needed to be liberation and guilt through the journey of exploration, and what better place to do it in than a salon, which has been a venue for many of our personal journeys.
As director Nitya Misra likes her stories told, it is a story focused on regular people, going through a normal situation while managing to affect the audience in a profound, but gentle way. It is a quiet tale of family, loss, loneliness, and grief while keeping intact the delicate connection that Nimmi and Nelson create between themselves.
Find out more about the film here.
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