Friday, October 29, 2010

Daayen ya Baayen 

Up in the Hills

There are several reasons why Bela Negi’s debut film Daayen ya Baayen could be lauded. A female filmmaker managed to get the opportunity to make a film; she made a film she believed in, about a milieu she understands.  She did not to fall into the crowd-pleasing trap, she avoided gimmickry and went instead about a heart-felt film about the little people. All of this makes you feel guilty for not treating the film as a rare gem—unfortunately, there are many flaws too, its slow pace being the least of them.

Negi goes for the Iranian film style, of looking at ordinary life from a child’s point of view (though one suspects Jiri Menzel as a possible inspiration too). The hill village called Kanda-- with its colourful houses, brightly dressed people, picturesque landscapes and narrow winding roads where cars can’t go--  is first roused by the sudden return of Ramesh Majila (Deepak Dobriyal) from Mumbai.

His wife  (Bharti Bhatt) should be pleased, but isn’t, since she is dreaming of getting out of the sleepy village (where the men drink and gamble, the women work and watch TV soaps) to the city.  Her husband has brought as a gift for her, a plastic back-scratcher! Majila, an aspiring poet takes up a job as a teacher in a school, where the kids are as uninterested in learning as the teachers in teaching.   Worse, Majila wants to set up a Kala Kendra in the village, which turns him into bit of a joke for all but one devoted chamcha (Badrul Islam).

Then, he wins a big red car in a TV jingle contest and his life changes— and not for the better.  But at the end of it, things come together quite miraculously too.

Surprisingly, for a film with situations ripe for humour, there are very few funny moments in it; and the ones that could fly are grounded by Deepak Dobriyal’s off timing. All the non-actors in the film, including a battalion of old women, and the village Romeo (Manav Kaul) are charming, but the protagonist can’t carry the film through.

After a while admiring the locations and trying to figure out where the film is going, one starts to feel bored—like at a beautiful holiday resort, where there’s nothing to do. You needed the holiday, like you need a realistic, down-to-earth film, but there is always that niggling slip between expectation and delivery.


Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

eXTReMe Tracker