440319-nil-battey-sannata

6 points: Nil Battey Sannata

440319-nil-battey-sannata
A simple small-town film with simple small-world issues. And a hard-hitting question: Doctor ka beta doctor, engineer ka beta engineer,… will the world go on like this? And are our dreams really supposed to be crippled by our current means?

This film was a breath of fresh air, in its treatment and its sensitivity. Money well spent. And here are the 6 points once more:

  1. I loved maths in school. I was probably the geeky chap who was teaching everyone and spouting off one-liners about loving maths and finding answers within questions. Nevertheless, the film connected with me. And if it connected with a math-lover like me, कुछ तो बात होगी.
  2. The film stands on the shoulders of four performances – Swara Bhaskar, not a false step as a conscientious and aware but undereducated young mother-cum-maid (and never have I seen her get a local accent wrong!), Ria Shukla, the ambitionless but street-smart daughter, believable to the extent that you hate her throughout, Pankaj Tripathi, a revelation as the polite teacher who comes with his own cute quirkiness, and Ratna Pathak Shah, in the tried and tested affluent but down to earth and helpful matriarchal figure.
  3. The music reminded me of the style that we know as the signature of Amit Trivedi in places, but isn’t by him.
  4. Agra! Never seen it so beautifully captured. The Taj makes an appearance in only a handful of scenes, but the city is still presented so tastefully – the bylanes, the bungalows, the city’s bustle, and the river flats (I remember seeing such terrain from the window during train journeys as a kid) – everything’s beautiful.
  5. The film stretches a bit in the second half. The challenges keep mounting, and the resolution stays a little out of reach. But in the end, what the protagonist achieves isn’t Hindi-film style absolute success, but just enough to validate her outlook of dreaming beyond what she’s capable of.
  6. The film does get preachy at times, though I understand it’s par for course for such a film. The math geek’s dialogues make him appear a bit too wise. The moment that changes the daughter’s heart is literally in your face struggle porn. And the final scene where the mother explains to the daughter about having a dream went a bit too long, and repetitive.
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