Watched 'Well Done Abba' on video the other day. It's pretty watchable (there is no moment when you want to go away for even the shortest break). I read some nice reviews of the movie and its by Shyam Benegal so I was pretty keen to watch it in the theatre. But as with so many movies, by the time I got my act together the movies gone from the theatres and I am waiting for the Videos to arrive.
'Well Done Abba' is the story of Armaan Ali (Boman Irani) a chaffeur in Mumbai who originally hails from a village near Hyderabad. (So all characters speak Hyderabadi and there are several Telugu speaking characters with all the characteristics that the people in these parts display.) Anyway the movie opens with Boman Irani being fired for being away for a long period without informing the boss and by the end of the conversation Boman has convinced his young boss that he'd drive him to Pune (where boss has some work) and tell him the reason why he got delayed. So begins the story of his well which is told while the boss and chaffeur drive along to Pune.
Boman has a daughter, Minissha Lamba (who fits her part well) who goes to school with her friend Sakina and flies kites the rest of the time. She has a sharp tongue, is outspoken and well, educated. She lives with Boman's black sheep brother and his wife (Boman again with red hair and Ila Arun, a delightful pair of villains who steal chicken, chappals and are perpetually running from someone or the other). Boman goes to his village to check some marriage proposals for his daughter, finds out that the village has no water (his brother and his sis-in-law are being locked up by the cops for stealing water from a neighbours well and selling it off) and decides to get a well dug.
Now, there's a government scheme for digging of wells where the government gives loans to dig wells. Boman starts his journey for his well and visits the sarpanch Balamma and her husband Salim Ghouse (the real sarpanch), several government officers, which include a newly wed Ravi Kissen and the object of his passions, a 28-28-38 Sonali Kulkarni who he wants to attain a 38-28-38 dimension, the government photographer and so on. Each has a code for his share of the commission in the loan amount of Rs. 1.35 lakhs and pretty soon the loan is sanctioned, disbursed taken and exhausted, with pictures and all sorts of proof and documentation in place.
Only, the well is not there!
Boman and daughter file a police complaint that their well is missing. The police inspector, Rajat Kapoor, is driven up the wall with the antics of the villagers from Chikatpally, but is forced to take action because there is proof of the well being dug. Many such well owners join the strike and they complain to the Minister. Of course there is some help from Minissha Lamba's love angle, Arif Khan, a mechanic (Sameer Dattani), who apart from his work as a mechanic also tries to recover money for his father from Boman's brother. As things heat up, the Minister decides to act and gets the government machinery to really dig up the wells. Tears well up in the eyes of the villagers. Boman agrees to accept Arif Ali as his son-in-law and all's well, and that ends well.
I saw a Telugu movie called 'Raja Vari Chepala Cheruvu' which has the same theme of a fish tank that is reported lost. Someone told me that the original idea is from a Kannada film. But the movie 'Well Done Abba' has a whole lot of really loveable characters, a nice, easy plot that shows up the system for what it is, has no real villains since we actually find them all very likeable anyway, and its good fun in the end. Very very watchable in my opinion!