Written and Directed by Dev Benegal
Cinematography by Michel Amathieu
Music by Michael Brook
July of 2006 is when I saw the trailer of Abhay Deol’s second film ‘Ahistha Ahistha’ on MTV. The trailer didn’t seem too impressive and I wrote him off as an other star kid trying hard to make fame from the family name. Honeymoon Travels (2007), Manorama Six Feet Under, Oye Lucky (2008) and Dev D (2009) followed and I could no longer ignore the presence of this extremely intelligent actor who just happened to be a star kid. And with ‘Road, Movie’ he had given himself an international status in filmdom.
This new Dev Benegal film is centered around Vishnu (Abhay), an old truck and a few films it has in it. Vishnu’s dad had been selling hair oil all his life and wants Vishnu to carry forward the dying family business. Vishnu however has no interest in selling oil and takes an offer from one of his dad’s costumers to deliver a vintage movie truck to a museum to get away from life’s monotony for a while.
Vishnu starts off to the museum which is a few hundred miles away through the desert. He packs some food and some water bottles for the journey without actually knowing what he is about to travel through. Vishnu’s first acquaintance on the road is a kid who works at dabha (a highway restaurant) where Vishnu stops for some tea. He requests Vishnu for a ride till the next town. The next add on to the truck comes when the truck breaks down in the middle of nowhere. An old mechanic (Om) played by Satish Kaushik gets the truck moving again.
However, Vishnu doesn’t relish having the new passengers in the truck and even deserts them. Only until the truck breaks down again. The first time Vishnu uses the film reels and the projector bunked in the back of the truck is to please a local police inspector who arrests Vishnu and the truck for lack of any papers. And the final addition to the truck is a water hunting nomad (Tannishta Chatterjee) who loses her way.
Films of the truck, the portrayal of the eager water hunt, a bandit group headed by Yashpal Sharma, a bunch of ‘to remember’ performances and a magical fair are the other parts which cast a spell on you.
The truck running into a group of woman who travel through the desert in search of water, the exquisite soundtrack and the stunning visuals are the artistic segments of the film which give it the international touch.
Rating – √√√√ – an Indian film to brag about
This review of DasKino had won the ‘reader’s review contest’ of Rajeev Masand on CNN-IBN. This is the second time DasKino had won this contest, winning it for the review of ‘Rocket Singh’ previously.