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Well Done Abba review: Bravo Benegal!

Well Done Abba review: Bravo Benegal!

Source: Sify

By: Sonia Chopra*

Critic's Rating: 17/5

Friday 26 March 2010

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Movie Title

Well Done Abba

Director

Shyam Benegal

Star Cast

Boman Irani, Minissha Lamba, Sameer Dattani, Ravi Kissen, Ila Arun, Salim Ghouse, Sonali Kulkarni, Rajit Kapoor

In the sweet village of Chikatpali, water is a big issue. An old rickshaw puller is ready to sacrifice small change for a glass of water; but is let off with a tip. This upsets Armaan Ali (Boman Irani), a driver in Mumbai, who?s visiting his village after a while.

He?s left his daughter Muskaan (Minissha Lamba) and his ancestral home in the care of his irresponsible brother Rahman (also played by Boman) and his wife Salma (Ila Arun). The daughter, a firebrand, welcomes her father informing him that the husband-wife duo is on the run for stealing water, instead of the usual shoes and other less controversial items.

Realising the shortage of water, Armaan decides to make use of his holiday; under a government scheme, he applies for a loan to dig up a local well. The government officials involved ? a range of them including a honeymooning engineer to the corrupt head of department ? get into the game for the money involved.

The film then explores Armaan?s journey that includes running from one government office to the other (the merry-go-round dealt expertly in the TV series Office Office), and encountering unabashed corruption and political nonchalance.

Supporting him in this endeavour is educated and forthright Muskaan who doesn?t step back from questioning authorities and staging dharnas. Simultaneously a tender romance is insinuated, that gets the protective father worried.

Like writer-director Shyam Benegal?s last film Welcome to Sajjanpur, this one too is based out of a village and talks of several pressing issues in the fold of an entertaining story. Benegal?s storytelling is fable-like with a modern touch.

Like in Welcome to..., here too his characters defy the clich? of village simpletons, and incorporate a small-town charm with modernity. Benegal?s wry humour is in form, apparent in the little details, while commenting upon multiple issues like water scarcity, corruption, and gender inequality, so on.

Performances are an added highlight. Boman Irani, always a delight, gets to sink his teeth in a double role; enacting the two differing personalities with expertise.

Minissha Lamba has a role that heroines in our industry usually dream of ? with a range, personality, and graph of its own. As the straight-talking Muskaan who matches her father?s struggle each step of the way, Lamba is perfect.

Ila Arun as Rahman Ali?s equally notorious wife is a riot.

Ashok Mishra?s (Welcome to Sajjanpur) masterful screenplay and dialogue are a treat. Also adding to the film is the crisp sound design, authentic art direction, styling and cinematography. The lovely songs (music by Shantanu Moitra; lyrics by Ila Arun, Ashok Mishra, Swanand Kirkire) are evocative of the film?s texture ? a mix of the parable and contemporary.

So there you have it ? a bare look at contemporary rural India complete with all its unique challenges and nuances. And told with the Benegal stamp of folding in humour with comment. Don?t miss it.

Verdict: Three stars

*This review was mistakenly attributed to Taran Adarsh/IndiaFM earlier. Our sincere apologies for the error.

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