Director: Pushpendra Misra
Cast: Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Raghubir Yadav, Ila Arun
Loaded with warmth and care, this is essentially a movie about the movies. That said, it’s not exactly the sort of narrative film that traditional moviegoers might instantly warm up to. By which I mean there is a functional plot or story-line, yes.
But it’s led more directly by the lead character, and his personal fantasies — rather than a series of events and consequences per se.
In any case, in the day and age of smartphones, a movie about a missing person naturally/deliberately segues into the surreal. For, how else do you explain a young man from, what you would call ‘gaon-dehaat’ (basically a minor district in Uttar Pradesh, or UP/Oo-Pee), heading off to Mumbai to make it in the movies? The family back home is rattled alright.
But nobody in this affluent, well-connected household has a single picture of the guy to pass on to the police in Mumbai to help find him. The cop assigned the blind-man’s task (Anurag Kashyap) must pick a needle from a mountain of hay, in 30 days flat, or lose his job.
You get the picture/point. Basically don’t let logic get in the way of your love (or lack of it) for whatever you see on screen. It’s a film that is enjoyed equally, if not more, in fragments. Not just because it plays with form. But it rests squarely on short, super-sweet scenes/vignettes. As much as it is richly rooted to the peculiar soil it is set in — adorably capturing the people and the patois.
Everybody speaks slightly hysterically, which is anyway a dialect called rural Hindi! Nawazuddin Siddiqui — better known during his theatre days as a comic actor — plays the innocent bumpkin of sorts, Ghoomketu. Don’t know what his name means. I know ‘dhoomketu’ is comet in Hindi.
This is ad filmmaker Pushpendra Nath Misra’s debut feature. He’s also the brain behind the Netflix nostalgic series, Taj Mahal 1989, for those of you who have seen (on my watch-list; one life, how much to watch!). Speaking of which, the timeline of this movie is unimportant too.
Watch the trailer of Nawazuddin Siddiqui starrer Ghoomketu here
Though there was certainly a phase of runaway boys, back in the ’80s/’90s, who were drawn to the magic of movies, and would pick up cash from their village/small-town homes, and just land up to try their luck in Film City, as it were. Surely, some of that applies to personal lives of many actors in this picture as well — perhaps Nawaz himself, Raghubir Yadav, Brijendra Kala, and others — who found a fine home for their talents in Mumbai.
But the lead character here — talking straight to the camera in mockumentary style; lugging around ancient steel-trunk and holdall — aspires to be a screenwriter. And the film itself isn’t quite about his proverbial struggles, because that would be terribly limiting as full-blown reality. It is centred on the stories in his own head, which is hugely liberating by way of a series of films derived from films itself.
You can then admire “purbaiya” (easterly winds) blowing over the hero-heroine in the remake of DDLJ, or gawk, gobsmacked at Raghubir Yadav as the desi-rustic Captain Spock, while this movie gets away with that and a lot more — sounding serious, looking professionally produced (rather than B-grade), all through.
You might be pleasantly surprised to see a sterling line-up of superstars
Amitabh Bachchan, Ranveer Singh, etc, making cameos long enough to be roles in a low-budget indie, of a debuting writer-director. Which in turn is about wild fantasies of an aspiring writer, with hardly a chance of making it himself! What do we have here then: Dreams within dreams within dreams, coming true? Sounds like Inception to me! Loved it.
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