Directed by Vishal Bharadwaj
This Vishal Bharadwaj film is at once his most simple yet most layered film to date. He calls it a ‘children’s film made for adults’ which is, perhaps, an apt assessment. It is comparable to all those Iranian films like Children of Heaven and Where Is My Friend’s Home? which have used kids as central figures. The stories revolve around their lives yet the deceptive innocence of these movies is a disguise to grapple with philosophical issues.
The story revolves around young Biniya (Shreya) who exchanges her bear claw-locket with an umbrella from some Japanese tourists. It’s an object that the local pickle-loving chaiwallah Nandkishore Khatri (Pankaj Kapur) covets. The film talks of avariciousness and desire, it talks of community spirit, how it can unite a set of people and how the community can also be cruel in ostracising individuals. More than anything else, it’s a fable on forgiveness personified in the child. There are some nice, humorous lines and a heavy use of the local dialect, specially by Kapur who is in top form. Technically, it’s an intricate piece of filmmaking. Overall, the film proves one thing: that Bharadwaj is our most consistent young filmmaker and the most daring as well.