Monday, December 10, 2007

Blue Umbrella

Rating : 7/10
Running Time : 90 Minutes
Release Date : 10th Aug ‘07
Director, writer & music : Vishal Bhardwaj ;
Starring : Pankaj Kapoor, Shriya

Endearing – that’s the best one word description I can think of for this movie based on a Ruskin Bond novel of the same name. Its unfortunate that adults in India shy away from going anywhere near something which is classified as a children’s film. This is a simple movie, set in a very small, sleepy hamlet in Himachal Pradesh, it is not dramatic, meanders at a leisurely pace, nothing really happens but yet there is a story in there, showcasing the greed of humans, the innocence of children, the strict social customs of small village’s but above all the charming simplicity of its inhabitants. This is yet another marvelous, authentic character study by the director of Omkara.

A young girl, who is the ‘gang-leader’ of a rag tag bunch of kids, gets her hands on a beautiful blue umbrella from some tourists. Its one of the Japanese umbrella’s, vividly decorated, and as one of the village characters describes it, ‘it’s as if a piece of the sky itself has come down in the form of the umbrella’. As with all favourite toys, it becomes the girl’s constant companion and kind of like Mary’s lamb, it went everywhere the girl went. Pankaj Kapoor, plays the part of a small shopkeeper in the village, who sets his heart on the umbrella. As he describes it to a small boy, who is his man Friday, ‘there is a strange attraction I have for the umbrella, almost as if its from a previous life’. He tries to buy it from the girl, tries to bribe her with grand promises of a sweet everyday but to no effect. His boy offers to steal it for him but his offer is declined. He even goes to a vendor and tries to buy one, however it has to be brought all the way from Delhi and costs a princely sum. He can afford it but is undecided as to what to do next….

Both the lead charcters – the young girl and Pankaj Kapoor acted out of their skins, with faultless performances. As in all Vishal Bhardwaj movies, the supporting cast is also equally good and seem to be tailor-made for their parts.

I enjoyed watching it on a flight, the events unfolding at a relaxed pace and it got my undivided attention despite the distractions of business class travel, like food, drink, over-solicitous flight attendants etc. It was a refreshing change from all the overly hyped big budget releases of recent times and I wish it had received a wider audience.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Copletely off the "review comments" track but could not help it.So, here goes-

Most people would give an arm & a leg to travel Business Class and have all the food, drink AND THE OVER SOLITOUS Flight Attendants - in fact have one as their own personal one!!!

The taken for granted attitude of a bored frequent traveller,I guess!