Free Press Journal

The Wishing Tree: Hysterically blind to its own faults


Cast: Shabana Azmi, Makarand Deshpande, Rajit Kapoor, Navneet Nishan, Varsha Agnihotri, Jayati Bhatia, Vrajesh Hirjee, Jaya Bhattacharya, Shivani Joshi, Aditya Manghani

Director: Manika Sharma

The star cast may have drawing power but the film is so fractured and distorted that it doesn’t make much sense at all. Supposedly aimed at children, this story of an inspirational, magical tree that helps bring about acceptance in its young protectors’ lives, should have had magic realism as its main thread but the shoddy treatment doesn’t allow for any magic to sustain. Instead, it all feels so ridiculously contrived.

Beginning with a voiceover from none other than Amitabh Bachchan, the narrative talks about how five alienated children suddenly begin to feel a sense of belonging after coming in contact with the tree and the mystic woman (Shabana Azmi in fancy dress) inhabiting it’s realm. So, you have different tracks about children with problems and how they feel a sense of belonging when they come in contact with the tree. And it’s upto them to defend the tree they love so much when unscrupulous wood cutters, in truck with the forrest police seek to defame the spirits inhabiting the tree and want it cut down.

The effects are poorly, the editing is obviously choppy and the performances are quite simply unbecoming. As a message wielding film, this one is totally lacking in the ability to put forward an idea and allow it to develop in organic, believable fashion. The narrative is devoid of fluidity and amiability. The presence of known actors in roles that are poorly conceptualised and written makes the distention even more stark and unbecoming. So, here’s yet another lost opportunity masquerading as an environment promotional exercise.