Sunday, September 16, 2007

Nanhe Jaisalmer 

On paper the idea must have worked— a child’s obsession with a film star that encourages him to become an achiever. Not to be a spoiler, but there is a resemblance to Lage Raho Munnabhai, in the way the mind works tricks.

Samir Karnik sets Nanhe Jaisalmer in tourist-pretty Rajasthan, where Nanhe (Dwij Yadav) is a tourist guide, supporting his mother and sister. He is surrounded by the usual medley of strange people— who make up film villages and small towns. One of them, a silver haired “Madamji”, is hell bent on educating everyone around her.

Nanhe is quite content being illiterate, “I earn a living, so why study?” is his reasoning. When he was even younger, he had appeared in a film scene with Bobby Deol, and is crazy about the star, writing letters to him (dictated to his sister), dreaming about him and dancing in the aisles when Bobby’s film is on.

Then one day Bobby actually comes to his town and the two strike up a friendship, with the star teaching Nanhe to stand up to the local bully and also to go to school to study.

Karnik fills the film with the most unimaginative scenes, with a shrill kid, whose voice would wake up the dead—though he has a sweet, dimpled face and a charming screen presence. Karnik is so busy tapping the kid’s cuteness, that he doesn’t bother to add any depth to the script. It would, for instance, in these celebrity-driven times, be interesting to examine the fan-star phenomenon (done so well in Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s Guddi) and its possible ill-effects. It has an effective ending though, again hammered so hard by Karnik, that it results in inducing giggles.

The film is rather too flattering to Bobby Deol—all he has to do is look starry and act friendly, which he does with ease. There are some eye-catching vistas of Jaisalmer, but for a place that looks gorgeous no matter where the camera is placed, that magic is lacking in the visuals. The music is none too impressive either—not Himesh Reshammiya’s better work. In short, not a must-watch, but better than Karnik’s earlier Kyon Ho Gaya Na—for whatever that is worth.


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