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'Aisa Yeh Jahaan' review: Sketchy but heartfelt!

'Aisa Yeh Jahaan' review: Sketchy but heartfelt!

Source: Sify

By: Sonia Chopra

Friday 24 July 2015

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Movie Title

Aisa Yeh Jahaan

Director

Biswajeet Bora

Star Cast

Palash Sen, Ira Dubey, Kymsleen Kholie

We know of films about the bond between humans, and between humans and pets. But this is the only film I've seen that explores the deep friendship between a human and a plant. This is India's first carbon neutral film, which is applaudable.

The story begins with lovely poetry about Mumbai, set to the busy sights and sounds of the city. We're introduced to a middle-class family with Palash Sen playing the husband and Ira Dubey as the ditzy, over-ambitious wife.

Sen's Rajib is the voice of sanity in the film, but he's as chauvinistic as any other husband whose solution to his wife's rant that she does all the housework and also works at the office, is to advice her to quit her job.

Dubey's Ananya is a flaky one and often makes us laugh with her histrionics. She's a dunce, we are to believe, who gets fooled by her trainer at the gym and needs her husband's help to write her Facebook updates. She's also hardhearted when it comes to letting their kid enjoy her childhood or understanding her love for a plant that she had seeded.

Their four-year-old daughter Kuhi spends the day with their teenage house-help Pakhi, whom they had hired from Rajib's village. The two children usually spend time tending to Pom (their pet plant).

We see the daily tragedies and comedies of this family - from disagreements about everyday things, paying school donations, and struggling over the dynamics of a single bathroom.

'Pom the plant' becomes a symbol of innocence, that slowly gets eroded from the family, and perhaps from the city itself. Will the family be able to sustain their friendship with Pom, and save it from themselves? Poignant question, indeed.

The film answers these questions, giving us some memorable moments along the way-Rajib picking a banana peel off the road, only for a car to stop and throw out a pizza box; the family vacationing in an Assam village and us getting to see its breathtakingly natural beauty; folk dances at street corners; the child experiencing village life for the first time and learning about "shudh hawa"; the child being forced to "SMIIILEEEE" by an entire crew for an ad shoot as she looks completely confused; and reminisces and regrets shared with childhood friends.

The songs are lilting and lovely, particularly "Sautela Shehar", that's a tribute to Mumbai's dichotomy.

The film is well-intentioned and is steeped in beautiful aesthetics, especially in the first half. The post-interval portion seems like another film altogether with poor attempts at humour. Towards the finale, a few things begin to grate. One, the village life is romanticized and city life criticized to a fault. Second, Sen is made to overlay the 'cool dad', even as he's always the sensible one, singing in the rain with his kid, opposing her early admission to school, and talking down to his uptight wife.

The performances are noteworthy - from Palash Sen, Ira Dubey, Kymsleen Kholie (playing Pakhi), to the tiny ton Prisha Dabbas, and Yashpal Sharma who is dependably superb.

Director Biswajeet Bora gives us a film that's heartfelt but marred by a sketchy, uneven execution. And the film's core can be described in these lovely words - 'Jaisa apna aashiyan, hoga waisa yeh jahaan' (The state of your home, is reflected in the state your outside world). Words to mull over. And yes, it has inspired me to rekindle my friendship with plants, with more heart and gratitude!

Rating: 3 stars