Hellaro (2019)


Hellaro (2019)

A group of suppressed women from a village in Gujarat find someone in the desert and their lives are changed forever.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            
IMDb   8.7 /10
TheMovieDb    4.5 /10
Director Abhishek Shah
Writer Prateek Gupta
Writer Saumya Joshi
Writer Abhishek Shah
Release Date2019-12-05
Runtime2h 1min
Content Rating
AwardsAwards3 wins & 1 nomination
CompanySaarthi Productions
Manjhrias Manjhri
Muljias Mulji
Maulik Nayak
Maulik Nayak
Bhagloas Bhaglo
Arjanas Arjan
Kesaras Kesar
Kaushambi Bhatt
Kaushambi Bhatt
Champaas Champa
Firoz Arab
Firoz Arab
Dahyoas Dahyo
Hansaas Hansa
Jitendra Bagga
Jitendra Bagga
Govoas Govo
Shreyans Bagga
Shreyans Bagga
Kanchan's sonas Kanchan's son
Yash Baru
Yash Baru
Mena's sonas Mena's son
Tarjanee Bhadla
Tarjanee Bhadla
Gaurias Gauri
Moti Bhai
Moti Bhai
Village Dholias Village Dholi
Parv Bhatt
Parv Bhatt
Champa's husbandas Champa's husband
Hardik Bhavsar
Hardik Bhavsar
Laljias Lalji


Hellaro (transl. The outburst) is a 2019 Indian Gujarati period drama film co-written and directed by Abhishek Shah and produced by Ashish Patel, Nirav Patel, Aayush Patel, Prateek Gupta, Mit Jani and Abhishek Shah under the banner of Saarthi Productions and Harfanmaula films. The film having ensemble cast of Jayesh More, Shraddha Dangar, Brinda Trivedi Nayak, Shachi Joshi, Niilam Paanchal, Tejal Panchasara and Kausambi Bhatt, marks the directorial debut of Abhishek Shah.

The film revolves around a group of women living in Kutch in 1970s.

Hellaro won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film at the 66th National Film Awards. It was officially selected as the opening film at Indian Panorama, at 50th International Film Festival of India (IFFI). It was also nominated for the best debut feature film of a director at the film festival. The film was released in theatres in India on 8 November 2019 to positive reviews.


In 1975, a young girl named Manjhri is married off to a small village in the middle of nowhere in the Rann of Kutch. There is no rain in the village since many years. The villagers believe it is a curse of the goddess because of a widow rup who was an embroider and tried to earn money and escaped with another villager. As an apology the men present a Gujarati folkdance garba to impress the goddess, but the women are not allowed to play garba. Every morning the women of the village go to a distant lake to fetch water, this is the only time when they are not suppressed but free. One day they come across an unconscious drummer and help him. In return, he plays his dhol and the women play garba for the first time. Since then, everyday they fetch water and play garba. After some time the women convince him to ask the mukhya of their village for shelter and play dhol for navrati. Everyday he plays garba for the women at the day and for the men at night. One day the women are caught playing garba and are beaten as a punishment. On the same night the women play garba in the village and it rains.


  • Shraddha Dangar as Manjhri
  • Jayesh More as Mulji, a drummer
  • Tejal Panchasara as Gomti
  • Shailesh Prajapati as Mukhi
  • Maulik Nayak as Bhaglo
  • Aarjav Trivedi as Arjan
  • Brinda Trivedi as Kesar
  • Tarjani Bhadla as Gauri
  • Niilam Paanchal as Leela
  • Kaushambi Bhatt as Champa
  • Swati Dave
  • Denisha Ghumra as Radha
  • Aakash Zala as Joraavar
  • Rajan Thakar
  • Kishan Gadhvi
  • Kamlesh Parmar
  • Sachi Joshi
  • Riddhi Yadav as Kanchan
  • Jagruti Thakore
  • Dhriti Patel as Reva
  • Kamini Panchal
  • Ekta Bachwani
  • Parva Bhatt


The debut director and co-writer Abhishek Shah stated that the story was inspired from folklore of the Vrajvani village in Kutch and real-life instances of patriarchy. Prateek Gupta co-wrote screenplay, edited, and co-produced the film while also serving as the Associate Director. Playwright and poet Saumya Joshi wrote lyrics, additional screenplay, and dialogues. Mehul Surti composed the music. Ashish Patel, Nirav Patel, Aayush Patel, Abhishek Shah, Mit Jani, and Prateek Gupta produced the film under the banner of Saarthi Productions and Harfanmaula films. Aayush Patel and Mit Jani helmed as creative and executive producers.

A set of village with fifteen Bhunga (traditional houses), a town square and a temple was created in Rann of Kutch near Kuran village where the film was shot.


Soundtrack album by
Mehul Surti
Released18 October 2019
GenreFeature film soundtrack
LabelSaarthi Productions LLP

All lyrics are written by Saumya Joshi; all music is composed by Mehul Surti.

Track listing
1."Asvaar"Aishwarya Majmudar, Mooralala Marwada4:03
2."Haiyaa"Shruti Pathak, Aditya Gadhvi (Backing vocals)5:01
3."Sapna Vinani Raat"Aditya Gadhvi5:30
4."Vaagyo Re Dhol"Bhoomi Trivedi4:10
Total length:18:44


It was released in theatres on 8 November 2019. The film was released on video on demand service, MX Player on 4 April 2020.


Critical response

The film was universally acclaimed by the critics. Abhimanyu Joshi of The Times of India rated it 4 out of 5. He praised the film's direction, story, screenplay, acting, cinematography, music, and choreography, further stating that the film justly deserves the National Award it received and fulfills expectations. Namrata Joshi writing for The Hindu praised the story, direction, production, and cinematography. She further added that the film "questions patriarchy while celebrating the colours and culture of Gujarat". Jigar Ganatra of Mumbai Live called it "masterpiece" and rated 4.5 out of 5. Parsi Times rated it 3.5 out of 5. Delnaz Divecha writing for BookMyShow noted that the film's presentation of the subjects of patriarchy, casteism, and superstition connects the audience, and further praised the film's performances and choreography. She also pointed that "some customs may seem outdated but still happen to be the reality of many rural women". Jinal Bhatt of Mashable India rated it 4.5 out of 5.

Ramesh Tanna of Kutchmitra praised the film for its direction, acting, and cinematography, calling it a "must-watch" but criticised the false subject of opposition to garba and embroidery work, some characterisations, and the lack of Kutchi language in a film set in Kutch. He also questioned the relevance of the film's subject in contemporary times and pointed to the inaccurate representation of Kutch's local culture and the 1970s.

Box office

The film had grossed over ₹15 crore (US$2.0 million) in the box office. The film had grossed over $1,41,304 (₹1 crore) in overseas market.


Hellaro was selected as the opening film at the Indian Panorama during the 50th International Film Festival of India (IFFI), held in November 2019 in Goa, where it won a special mention from jury for its "incredible music, colour and choreography." It is also nominated for the best debut feature film of a director at the film festival. It was also screened at the 19th River-to-River Florence Indian Film Festival held in Italy in December 2019.

Hellaro won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film at the 66th National Film Awards. The thirteen female actresses also won the Special Jury Award for their performances. It was the first Gujarati film to win the National Film Award for Best Feature Film.

AwardCategoryRecipient(s) and nominee(s)Result
66th National Film AwardsBest Feature FilmProducer: Saarthi Productions LLP

Director: Abhishek Shah

Special Jury AwardShraddha Dangar, Shachi Joshi, Denisha Ghumra, Neelam Paanchal, Tarjani Bhadla, Brinda Nayak, Tejal Panchasara, Kaushambi Bhatt, Ekta Bachwani, Kamini Panchal, Jagruti Thakore, Riddhi Yadav, and Prapti MehtaWon
Critics Choice Film Awards 2020Best Film (Gujarati)HellaroWon
Best Actor (Gujarati)Jayesh MoreWon
Best Actress (Gujarati)Shraddha DangarNominated
Best Director (Gujarati)Abhishek ShahWon
Best Writing (Gujarati)Abhishek Shah, Prateek Gupta, Saumya JoshiWon


A police complaint under Atrocities Act was filed against the film's producer, director, and writer for use of term Harijan in the film's dialogue. According to the complainant Jamnaben Vegda, the term is considered derogatory by the Scheduled Caste people .