Saturday, August 14, 2010

Road. Movie. - Movie Review

This one by Dev Benegal is set in the desert (just in case anyone has any doubt they also give the desert in Rajasthan, a credit). Now I must get over with this quickly even though I saw it over four days on the video. Abhay Deol lives in a small town in Rajasthan and is the son of a famous hair oil manufacturer - one of those small town brands with its own tagline like sar ko thanda rakho, mardangi badao, lagao atma kesh tel or something like that. Anyway Abhay does not like this hair oil business and ....that's it, he has no other plans but to dislike his father's business. He bumps into his Dad's friend or relative, an old guy who has an even older truck, and offers to drive the truck - somewhere, (don't ask). Frankly I have no clue why the old guy was driving that old truck anywhere except that he could be suicidal, and only after sometime into the road did I realise that its a moving theatre, a talkies that can be set up anywhere. Anyway the old guy, after giving half hearted advise to Abhay (whose name is Vishnu by the way) to help his Dad in the hair oil business, lets him drive the truck. Somewhere. He probably hoped that he did Abhay's father a great service by this act.
Personally, I would not have trusted that boy with anything. Also, if anyone sends anyone on that truck, you can figure that they are not the best of friends.

So Abhay sets off on the truck, movie equipment and all, and a few cartons of his father's hair oil to sell to potential customers in the desert. Soon he is in the desert and we are shown extensive footage of the desert from various angles and it gets you rather thirsty and makes you want to get away someplace else. He drives and drives and drives and drives and drives and we watch and watch and watch and watch until he  finally stops at a dhaba and picks up the most infuriating boy who works there, as his helper. On the condition that he will not speak or ask questions. That was rather tough on me because that boy was doing all the talking and doing a better job than Abhay or the truck until that point. Anyway it's rather predictable that the boy babbles on like a brook (oops, sorry, wrong word to use in the desert) and even more predictably, the truck stops at some point, most likely out of boredom, to ask the director what the whole point was.

While Abhay does some incomprehensible things like sleeping and hoping that the truck will start by itself or hoping that its a bad dream he will wake up from, the practical boy helper goes and fetches an overweight Satish Kaushik, or chacha, who is a mechanic. Chacha gets the truck running in a few ticks and his only wish is to get to the mela - only no one knows where it is - and parks himself inside the truck. We drive and dive and dive ...okay, you get it right until some unpleasant cops get the truck and find out that Abhay Deol only has a license for a two wheeler! So to get away from the meanie who is banging villagers after hanging them upside down, they show him a cinema to buy their way out.

Next day, the truck goes on and on and on and on and on until Abhay Deol throws the two, chacha and the boy, out of the truck for eating his lunch. Predictably, the truck stops again to enquire from the director, allowing the duo to once again start the truck and get back on it, this time, with a promise to get chahca to the mela. And then all water is exhausted. Predictably.

Just when we think they will all die, a solitary girl (pred...ohh let it be) arrives on the scene with some water in the tiniest bag I have seen. They drink some water, ask her to hop on since she has make up and lipstick in the desert, and is decidedly better looking, and off they go. Predictably, chacha is too old for the girl, the boy is too young, so Abhay's antennae go up. Suddenly the brown desert becomes white which is a good change and for some reason the movie also shifts gear. The foursome decide to set up the movie for no one, and within no time a million people come over and there is a carnival, a mela. These guys make a killing showing movies. Abhay and the girl meanwhile make out heavily under the truck.

The villain enters, a band of water dacoits, stops the happy truck, and claims the best thing in the truck, the girl. Here the movie has its most interesting moments as Abhay steps up and shows the villain that to be a real man he needs his father's hair oil. And lo behold, the dacoit is sold. The foursome (our foursome) strike a deal with the water dacoit, hair oil for water, and head off to their destination which is nowehere. As things look decidedly better for us all, they bump into a sad lot of thirsty villagers wandering the desert for water. Satish Kaushik gives them all water, Abhay Deol shows them a movie and Satish Kaushik, predictably, dies.

Anyone would die of boredom by now. Actually we don't really care if all of them die by now. But there is work to be done still. They bury the chacha in the desert (must have taken up a big hole that bod) and head off. The girl figures that she will be going round in circles in the desert with this guy all her life (and  he does not even have a mechanic cum movie technician now) and quickly gets off the truck. Abhay plants a superb kiss on her mouth in an electrifying moment and that is when you see that she has rather powerful arms. The kid decides that his future is better wandering the desert with the girl with those arms and who and kiss like that than Abhay Deol, and he gets off too. Abhay Deol, predictably, hits a highway in the next shot, a town, water or the sea, and actually runs his truck into the water.

In a poignant scene, a champi tel maalish chap comes over and gives the rather reticent Abhay a maalish as the movie draws to a close. You cannot really run away from your destiny my son! The next scene, we find that the hero of the movie, the truck, has disappeared and a new hero has appeared - a new motorbike. Maybe Abhay Deol sold off the truck but I did not really want to find out by then. The titles at the end were interestingly displayed. A lot of foreign technicians appeared to be involved in this making.
Anyway, I'd recommend this movie to all movie goers since Suhita has acted in it!

No comments: