MOVIE Review: COFFEE HOUSE
Film: Coffee House (Drama)
Cast: Ashutosh Rana, Sakshi Tanwar, Harsh Chhaya
Direction: Gurbir Singh Grewal
Duration: 2 hours
Remember your coffee house days when you measured life in coffee spoons and talked about conquering the moon. Well, now it's time to re-visit those high aspiration times when revolution seemed round the corner and Utopia anything, but an impossible dream.
Coffee House is a small, unostentatious, yet meaningful film about dreaming big, seeking change and making a difference. Naturally, in today's high-voltage electioneering, the film comes as a topical reminder of the power of the common man. Ostensibly inspired by the life and times of noted theatre activist, Safdar Hashmi who died a brutal death in the 1990s, the film focuses on the valiant attempts of Ashutosh Rana and his street theatre group to change the system and make it more accountable, inclusive and humane. Apart from his nukkad natak, Rana also runs his wife's (Sakshi Tanwar) newspaper but steps back when the business interests of the paper come in conflict with his voice-of-protest editorial content. This however is a minor point of conflict between the much in love husband and wife who are the focal point of the ensemble cast which assembles in the neighbourhood coffee house for its daily adda-baazi sessions. The coffee house does not only witness a robust exchange of ideas on society, politics and ethics, it also becomes a platform for showcasing contemporary India's major problems.
the theatre group includes a live-in couple that breaks apart when the ambitious young girl is seduced by corporate honcho, Harsh Chhaya into a richer, more glamorous world of TV journalism. Also present are a group of senior citizens with their own share of problems (neglect and lack of respect from their offspring) and a con men trio that does a Robin Hood to corrupt bureaucrats.
Eventually, all the assorted coffee house regulars (read decent citizens, desirous of change) come together and begin a home-spun revolution. This naturally rattles the ruling politicians who are not ready from the new Indian who calls himself a Hindustani instead of a Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Isai. Time for the goons to rush in....
The film scores mostly in its performances by actors who may not be big stars but are big in talent. Like, Ashutosh Rana who plays a consummate activist; Harsh Chhaya who perfects the art of genteel exploitation; Vinod Nagpal who touches you with his oldie 'emotional fool' act and Sakshi Tanwar who makes a smooth switch from the ever-wailing Parvati (Kahani Ghar Ghar Ki) to a woman of substance. Don't go looking for regular naach-gana and gloss and you will find substance and a soul.
Edited by queen_hetepet - 09 April 2009 at 8:19pm