Cast: Palash Sen, Ira Dubey, Tinu Anand, Prisha Dabbas, Kymsleen Kholie, Yashpal Sharma , Saurabh Pandey
Director: Biswajeet Bora
Rating: * * ½
It’s been tagged as India’s first ‘Carbon neutral’ film and that is commendable no doubt. but Biswajeet Bora’s film that climaxes on an environment and family friendly end-play plays around with one too many themes in the interim, to be entirely satisfactory.
The film starts off as being about a family from Assam, the Saikia’s, earning their livelihood working and living in the teeming metropolis, Mumbai- their hardships and aspirations and how the gilt and glamour of big city life rubs off on the highly impressionable and wannabe Mrs Ananya Saikia(Ira Dubey) because of which she is forever building up stories and trying to live a glamorous life by pushing her young daughter Kuhi(Prisha Dabbas) into modeling . The husband/father, Ranjib Saikia(Palash Sen), prefers a quieter more grounded and laidback existence but his wife Ananya is always pushing him into her own circus of aspirations and though he tries hard to desist, he ends up toeing the line. To the extent that Pakhi(Kymsleen Kholie) the young house-help from Assam, who takes care of their daughter and looks after their home, feels lost and abandoned towards the end. Threaded within this everyday familial turbulence is the thread about a mango sapling nurtured by Paki and Kuhi, becoming the focal point of the PSA video being shot for World Environment Day, Sponsored by the State Ministry.
Themes of migration, loneliness in a big city, greed, aspirational lifestyle, environment degradation, alienation, adaptation to new and alien ways, attitudinal shifts, parental neglect and many more jostle for space in a narrative that lacks focus and prefers to get frequently waylaid by unnecessary song and dance. The script is a little wayward. Pakhi’s story appears to be on an undesired parallel track that distracts from the main story. The music by Palash Sen has it’s evocative moments but it just doesn’t sit well in the narrative. The performances are quite likeable. Palash Sen exhibits a casual charm, Yashpal Sharma immerses himself quite competently into Assamese culture and Kymsleen Kholie is quite confident and effective. But it’s Ira Dubey ( for her virtuoso workhorse performance) and Prisha Dabbas ( for her unaffected and beguiling competence) who steal the show. Biswajeet Bora’s helming could have been tighter and more focused though. As a cinematic experience this film is wanting but as a promotional for a more greener, carbon neutral environment, this film does manage to get it’s point across!