If you’ve watched C/o Kancharapalem, there are so many characters that have the power to resonate in your minds for a long time. One such strong character we’re talking about today is Saleema.
P.S: This article contains spoilers ahead, so proceed only if you’ve watched the movie.
Who is Saleema?
Saleema is a Muslim prostitute in Kancharapalem, who lives life on her own terms. She passes by a wine shop every night and buys herself a bottle of whiskey. While all the men around, stare at her in an awe, She walks away.
Saleema does this everyday. She isn’t afraid of anyone, not a single stare and voice. Maybe there is a reason.
Because nobody exactly knows how Saleema looks, or who she is, as she covers her face. In fact people only know her as a woman who passes by the wine shop everyday.
What does Saleema lack in life?
Before I put in my answer, I would like you to take a moment and think. Money ? ..A respectful lifestyle ? .. NOPE.
The biggest thing Saleema lacks in her life is LOVE. Nobody has ever shown her what it is like to be loved.
If you remember, she says, her mother died of AIDS when she was young (and has no clue who her father is), so she grew up as an orphan all her life.
Not just any orphan, an orphan prostitute. We all know how society looks at prostitutes and treats them. And Saleema isn’t any different.
Gaddam, The biggest & only strength in Saleema’s life:
So even before when Gaddam sees Saleema’s face and knows her. He is the only one who shows any kind of interest and love towards her. She enjoys every moment of it silently, without speaking a word about it.
So silent that even when they both meet each other (unknowingly) in an unexpected situation where Gaddam’s friends bring Saleema as prostitute to his room. Saleema could’ve told Gaddam that it is her. But nope. She doesn’t.
Also what Gaddam does in the scene is something that Saleema has never seen and felt. Its LOVE, unconditional love of Gaddam towards a scarfed woman.
Prostitute and NOT ashamed:
So the other day when Gaddam asks her to reveal her face. Without a moment of hesitation, she does.
Gaddam walks away in shock and meets her the next day and asks her to marry him.
To which she says, Nobody has ever showed her love. She just wanted to hear that someone loves her.
Love in its purest form:
Gaddam doesn’t care about who she is, or what she does. He loves her for the way she is. Even when Saleema says that she will continue to do her work as long as she wants. This is such a deep, layered, meaningful, and noblest form of love.
In times like this, where people care so much about how good and beautiful their life partner should look. And how they should be a virgin (I’m not saying people should not have expectations). Gaddam and Saleema’s love is one in a million.
Tell me, which guy gives his girl a condom and drops her at the Bus Stop as a prostitute?
Also, its not like she’s a prostitute by ‘choice’. It is exact opposite, she’s a prostitute because, she had no other choice in life. Which is layered reflection of most prostitutes in real world.
I think the director wrote her character as a Muslim purposefully. Because,
muslim women generally cover up their body from top to bottom because, religion. And again Saleema isn’t any different.
Who killed Saleema?
As shown in the movie, A bunch of random ‘religious’ people come to Saleema and warn her not to do prostitution anymore. (Without understanding ANYTHING about what’s on her mind or her consent). And ask her to do a respectful job. And how do they do that? By physically hurting and abusing her.
This has to be the most painful and harsh reflection of whats happening in society in the name of religion.
Religion killed Saleema.
All of this happens just when things were about to be all right, Gaddam-Saleema’s love is devastated. If you observe, there is nobody to mourn for her death.
There are so many unnamed Saleema’s in real world out there who are hopelessly living their life. Nobody cares about them. Saleema is more than just a character, Saleema is a reflection of today’s society.
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