Saturday, August 25, 2012

'Help' yourself to it!

     A whodunnit usually doesn’t carry the burden of ethical or social lessons but this movie chooses to do the exact opposite. It begins with a bright day in the Capital but eventually ends up throwing light on the darker and narrower mindset of a well-fed society when it comes to dealing with underprivileged servants inside their spacious home. At the same time, the plot makes sure that the audience has a different perspective for a change too and involves a pair of British eyes to do the job.
A still from the film
     Set in Delhi, a rich yet dysfunctional family is preparing to welcome a foreign guest with aplomb. But within minutes, it becomes apparent that this guy has been robbed of his money. And toeing the line of Bollywood clichés, the needle of doubt points towards the domestic help. What follows is a trail of misdemeanor on one end and helplessness on the other—both connected with moments of laughter, awkwardness and ultimate closure.
     For a debutant director-writer, Prashant Nair has heralded a promising start though he could have focused more on the characters than the predictable climax itself. The reason being simple: the people in his film are flawed, real and engaging. It could have been any other city in the country but these folks shared the same Indian sentiments; unabashed hypocrisy being the most evident.
    The casting is near-perfect. At times, Lee Williams reminds you of Martin Henderson from Bride and Prejudice. Anjali Patil’s dusky features coupled with an elusive performance as a maid steals the show. However, it is Lillete Dubey and Kulbhushan Kharbanda who convincingly exhibit the charm of a disgruntled couple. Victor Banerjee is present as well as absent on the screen.
     In a nutshell, this is the kind of story that needs to be told as its moral echoes today in every Indian household that employs a servant.

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