Saturday, April 23, 2016

Nil Battey Sannata 

Maid Of Honour

Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari’s debut film Nil Battey Sannata is solid, old-fashioned storytelling in the best sense of the term. The simple story of a working class single mother who wants to drag her daughter out of poverty against her will, gets the viewer to invest emotionally in the fate of its characters and that’s saying a lot.
Agra resident Chanda (Swara Bhaskar) slogs at multiple jobs without complaint, just so that her daughter Apeksha (Ria Shukla) can get an education and a better life. The perpetually sulky teen scoffs at her mother’s naïve hopes, and cruelly says that a maid’s daughter will always be a maid, and in any case they don’t have the means to send her to college.

Apeksha’s bad attitude stems from her poor performance at school and her inability to grasp maths.  Chanda’s confidante is her kind employer Dr Dewan (Ratna Pathak Shah), who comes up with the crazy idea of enrolling Chanda in her daughter’s school, so that she can also study and keep an eye on the girl. She bullies the flabbergasted principal Shrivastav (Pankaj Tripathi), throwing his own favourite “jab jaago tab savera” aphorism at him.
After the initial stares and mocking, Chanda settles in-- not just does well at her studies she also befriends the other kids. Because she is so eager to learn,  her solemn bespectacled benchmate (a wonderfully natural young actor) helps her break her mental resistance to maths.
Apeksha’s nasty, rebellious streak gets worse; her resentment towards her mother breaks her heart, but Chanda is not a submissive type. She has learnt to negotiate her way around tough situations and won’t take any lip from her daughter.
The film is suffused with warmth and humour; the realistic, relatable tone is kept consistent, except for an unconvincing encounter with a collector (Sanjay Suri)—how many such gallant bureaucrats would one find, the kind who would seat a maid on his sofa and offer her tea?
The message of never letting a dream die is delivered simply, the one niggle being that Apekska still does not think for herself, and even after an impressive show at school, Chanda has no dreams or ambitions of her own—just for her daughter. The dialogue catches the UP style, except for the use of the word ‘bai’ for maid, which is used there in a different context.
The actors are all excellent—Swara Bhaskar’s earnestness evokes sympathy, but it’s Pankaj Tripathi as the cheerful teacher who steals every scene he is in.Nil Battey Sannata is recommended—if audiences don’t patronize good cinema, then they have no right to complain when junk is thrown at them from the movie screen.


Post a Comment

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

eXTReMe Tracker