Director: Dev Benegal
Road, Movie – A smooth slow ride
Road, Movie depicts the road trip taken by Vishnu (Abhay Deol) - the son of an oil tradesman. He takes it because he just doesn't see his future selling oil.
The movie starts with Vishnu unwillingly hearing his father's long lecture on the goodness of the hair-oil manufactured by their company and how he should ready himself to take over the business from him. The lecture begins in the dawn and continues to the dinner table (making you inevitably think about little Abhay in Dev D). However thankfully that's where the deja vu ends.
When Vishnu comes across an antique lorry that needs to get transported to a local museum he offers to do it. Apparently, he's found his route to escape! He thinks it will be a simple six-day ride to the museum and back, with survival dependent on mother's many Tiffin- boxed food items and bottled water. Boy, is he proved wrong big time!
His journey in the hot Indian desert is shared by a kid, who's trying to find his escape from his hard life. When Vishnu's truck breaks down, he offers a ride for a repair, to a carnival enthusiast cum mechanic (Satish Kaushik). Of course, how can any journey be complete without a feminine presence? So we have a banjaran (gypsy-woman played by Tannishtha Chatterjee) encounter them. Her kind gesture to offer water to the parched trio earns her a ride to Destination Waterhole.
Four people from different backgrounds, very different outlooks towards life get crammed into the truck by a tilt of fate. The shared journey relates them and ties them with this inexplicable bond. It explains why when it comes to expeditions, the journey is always, always more beautiful than the destination.
The strikingly gorgeous thing about the film is its capture of the Indian terrain with all of its color intact. There's nothing ornate about the desert or for the matter the blue city of Jodhpur. But there's this majestic magnificence of raw beauty and natural topography that just leaves you gaping with awe. This film has definitely been successful in making the maximum impact on the audience through fine use of locales.
Not-trying-too-hard kind of comedy is sweet!
The music is scorching just like the desert sun…a perfect co-ordination. The eclectic mix of bass guitars and trumpets, the strong voice of rajasthani folk-songs all gather to give you goosebumps.
The film goes through an easy transition of taking you through a real as well as surreal trip.
The language spoken by every character is Hindi but is laced with an accent of their upbringing. It's interesting!
Our country's problem of water-shortage and waterlords, limited only to the rural areas of Rajasthan and that of corrupt cops, unlimited all across, is brought out in a non-pompous manner.
The stretches of slow pace throughout the film, really demand your patience. Makes one wonder whether such a hardcore demonstration of the old Chevy's reluctance to speed-up is necessary?
The desert is quiet. We know that. The desert is scarcely populated and things can get utterly boring there. The makers give you a real feel of this.
When you are parched and weary of the journey it shows on your face but here it isn't made obvious or realistic. The beard of both the men don't grow shabbily…isn't it supposed to be one of the many give-aways of a deprived, constant traveler?
The coming-of-age of Vishnu is left to the imagination of the audience, which is not exactly appealing to everyone. It could've been made compelling with voice-over or any kind gesture from Vishnu's character. And Vishnu returning home as the same old bored clueless guy is just not a nice way to end this eventful road-trip, isn't it?
Yes or No?
Road, Movie is not generic. If you are into watching documentaries and bio-pics, you'll enjoy this film. But if you are into pure dhinchaak kind of films, you'll most probably sleep through it.
Road, Movie is dreamy and will be enjoyed by those who like to take their own time and savor every moment. A recommendation for those who are into trying new things.
Reporter and Author: Susan Jose