April 6, 2010

Road, Movie

Title: Road, Movie
Year: 2009

Cast: Abhay Deol, Tanishtha Chatterjee, Satish Kaushik, Muhammad Faisal, Virendra Saxena, Amitabh Shrivastava, Suhita Thatte

So lets jump right in, shall we? Its been a while since this blog has seen a real review, so bear with me, I need to get the hang of this again :D

Abhay plays a young man in a small town (played by Jodhpur) in Rajasthan. His heart isn't in his dad (Amitabh)'s hair oil business, which isn't doing well, despite his dad's best, and his own zero efforts.

Abhay's dying to get out of town to get to the big city, and when opportunity shows up in the form of an old truck, he jumps at it. The owner wants the truck sent to another city, Abhay's dad wants him to sell some oil there, and Abhay just wants out.

So Abhay drives out of Jodhpur, and from the drive it looks like he drives through Jaisalmer and surrounding areas. En route, he picks up Faisal, Satish and Tanishtha. They are caught by Viren, a policeman for driving without a licence, and they show the movies housed in the back of the truck to appease him- turns out the truck used to be a travelling cinema. They again use it when they run out of cash, food and water, and start a fair (!) in the middle of the desert to make some money.

Another addition to the journey is a run through with some water bandits- headed by Yashpal Sharma. The bandits hold monopoly over several water bodies and our heroes must get past them to finish their journey.

And some finish the journey, and others do not. And some wishes get fulfilled, but others do not.

What makes the movie:
  1. The entire cast is at the top of its game- every one contributes a 100%, and it is a treat to watch them interact with each other. Even the smallest role is played to perfection by the corresponding actor.
  2. Rajasthan is captured beautifully, and the cinematography is really well thought out.

What kills the movie:
  1. As much as I love Abhay (and you know I do), he shouldn't have done this movie. The fault is not that of the film- he plays the character beautifully, and it works. But he has done this role too many times before: he has been the rebellious, self-centered, devil-may-care character in too many movies. Dev D, Oye Lucky, even Socha Na Tha- in each of those, and in Road, Movie he argues with his dad (sigh), tries to be different from those around him (sigh) and breaks away free in the end (sigh). If you haven't watched Abhay's other work, its quite alright- you may like this. If you are a fan, you might find this repetitious.
  2. Abhay wears a white undershirt through a large part of the movie- which remains dazzling white throughout. Either he was carrying a massive bundle of those in his truck, or had a great antiperspirant, or movie magic keeps the shirt shining brightly in the sweltering Rajasthan desert. What do you think?... hmm.
  3. The movie isn't edited well, and there lies it biggest weakness. The same shots of the truck sitting in the middle of the desert and stuck on the screen for minutes on end, despite the great scenery, can get grating. A good 15 minutes could be easily shaved off there, and more time could be spent in showing us more interactions between Abhay and his family, or for that matter, any of the characters- they are really enjoyable, and it would be fun to see more of them. I do find it strange that nobody advised Dev Benegal to make it tighter. Or that he didn't choose to do so himself.
Aside: As opposed to others, I don't mind Faisal's dialogue re: Starbucks- since the movie has had extensive international exposure, its fair to use jargon that a international audience can understand. But I'm not forgetting the spanking new undershirts quite yet :)


dunkdaft said...

oh, finally someone's talking about this movie. hehe, not much things i have read about this so far on blogosphere.

I kinda liked it for its weird pace, beautiful visuals and ofcourse Abhay. But I think you are right there about repetitious. Satish was delight.So was the girl-tanishta. Wish there were some gripping moments, this would be a fine watch.

oh, and the white desert is Kutchh, Gujarat by the way.

dunkdaft said...

oh, and the starbucks thing. I too marked it. why would a chaiwallah somewhere in Rajasthan, know abt it?
But logic is, Rajasthan has its share of foreigners, so may be that way he knew it. :)

Filmi Girl said...

Very interesting!! I kind of wanted to see this but it looks like I could give it a miss... that clothing thing is funny - it always cracks me up when 'realistic' films give characters and endless wardrobe... ;)

Tady Rox! said...

I am an Abhay Deol fan and discussed this film on my blog...but i totally agree and forgot to mention the fact that we have seen this character over and over...but maybe it's just me cause I have no problem watching Shahrukh play the Raj/Rahul character over and over...and I love it every time, so maybe that's why i wasn't so bothered by it when I saw it in this film...i really enjoyed the music as well...