Hindi Film review
Film: Om Dar Ba Dar(Hindi/Restored)
Om Dar ba Dar Movie review: Restoring a forgotten Dream
Cast: Gopi Desai, Manish Gupta, Anita Kanwar, Aditya Lakhia , Lakshminarayan Shastri
Director: Kamal Swaroop
Rating: * * *
An absurdist drama in the form of a surreal fantasy, Kamal Swaroop’s meticulously restored cult classic made in 1988, rekindles a yearning for cinema devoid of all technological affectations. The film that premiered in the Berlin film festival back in the 80’s and also had a good run on the festival circuit thereafter , found it very difficult to garner a release in it’s home country. It may be several decades late but this restored release is definitely heartening for all those completed projects that found it difficult to make it to the theatres locally.
The film is basically about the adventures of a school boy named Om and is set in Ajmer and Pushkar in Rajasthan. Employing a non-linear narrative, Kamal Swaroop’s film tells the tale of the boy, Om in the period of carefree adolescence, who skips school and runs away from home fearing exam results- a reality which he considers harsh and is not too hopeful about. Swaroop’s narrative grips you from the first frame onwards.
The story begins as a comedy of sorts and them turns into a thriller. Om is not a lone camper- he has a family that doesn’t seem altogether. His father, Babuji, a government employee leaves his job to dedicate himself to astrology, while his older sister is dating a guy who is basically without ambition. Om who is involved in science is also attracted to magic and religion. Swaroop, had once claimed that his film, born out of hindu beliefs regarding Lord Brahma, was written solely on the basis of dreams and images that he had thought up. Swaroop fashions his narrative like a dream itself. A hallucination that takes you away from reality –to a realm where the individual is king. The very ‘real’ India that he depicts here is one where it’s people are influenced by science, religion, mythology, arts, politics and philosophy. It’s never clear but all those threads weave in and out of the narrative.
Using image, sound , montage and sometimes incomprehensible dialogue, (written by Kuku, also the lyricist and the art director of the film), The film also has songs and quite entertaining ones too- “ Babloo Babylon Se” and “ Meri Jaan’ with lyrics by Kuku , are used to make a statement against traditional Bollywood narrative patterns.
It’s not a lucid , invigorating and completely immersive experience. Instead it pricks and prods at your segmented though processes and forces you to think about things other than plain simple uncomplicated entertainment. You might not get it at first watch but be assured , the experiences will definitely enrich you!