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Hindi Film review
Film: Ankhon Dekhi: Difficult to connect with
Cast: Sanjay Mishra, Rajat Kapoor, Seema Bhargava Pahwa, Namit Das, Manu Rishi Chadha, Brijendra Kala, Maya Sarao, Taranjeet
Director: Rajat Kapoor
Rating: * *
Rajat Kapoor’s brand of movies have always had a quaintness to them. And this one ‘Ankhon Dekhi;’ (Seeing is Believing) is no different. The journey which this film encapsulates is one of self-awareness. The lead character Bhauji(Sanjay Mishra) has a life-changing experience and from then on goes to base the rest of his entire life on the learning from that one incident. The incident happens when his daughter Rita( Maya Sarao) is caught romancing a local Goon/playboy(supposedly). Bhauji, along with his brother Rishi(Rajat Kapoor) and a few other members of his extended joint family take the help of a police constable to ferret out his daughter’s swain. After threatening him with dire consequences and beating him up, Bhauji realizes that the boy Ajju(Namit Das) is no callous romeo-Just a sweet natured even tempered boy who happened to fall in love with Rita. That’s when the epiphany hits Bhauji and from thereon the story takes a weird turn into Bhauji’s experiences after he starts practicing the ‘Seeing is believing ‘ principle in his daily life. Of course family squabbles and break-up, gambling addiction, exam failure, Ego issues, loss of job are but minor impediments for Bhauji who by now has taken on himself the onerous task of convincing everyone around him about his .
But the price for going it alone is obviously too high for someone living in a conservative small-minded semi-urbanised set-up.
The main theme here is not the problem. It’s the unsubstantiated plotting and unconvincing framing of the script that creates a major rent in this film’s enjoyment. Bhauji’s epiphany is not exactly convincingly portrayed. It comes about without much of an exposition or set-up and therefore ruins the experience of whatever comes after. Also the journey from self-realisation to self-deceit is not one that comes across with much clarity. What’s interesting though is the impeccably portrayed milieu, the familiar sounding familial interactions, the ensemble assemblage of quality actors and by and large, a distinctive intention to stay away from the superficial and the formulaic. The wedding celebration (authentically dramatized)which comes towards the end becomes the catalyst for Bhauji’s discontent to come to the fore. And the surprise ending that borrows from Mani Kaul and Kumar Shahani’s ( with due credit)oeuvre appears almost surreal. Unfortunately, the set-up to that end play appears a little too weak. So all-in-all there’s not much conviction here to make the experience more rewarding!