Rajkummar Rao, Pankal Tripathi, Anjali Patil
By now, we know that if it is a Rajkummar Rao film, be rest assured that it will be one of the best cinematic experiences you have had in a long time. Just a month ago, the release the poster of the film and now it is the official entry for Oscars. Clearly, when you have great content, it is only a matter of time till the good starts rolling.
Nutan Kumar (Rajkummar Rao) is an honest man, trying to do an honest job in a world in which every convenience takes precedence over everything else. He is a thinking man, thoughtful enough to have even changed his name with very valid arguments and reasoning. He has his life chalked out in his mind, and he wants to get what he dreams off, and to begin with, he already has a secured job as a government officer. The story is about his tryst at the Maoist infested town of Dandkaranya, where he is supposed to organize a voting ballet. A simple task of carrying forward with his duties becomes increasingly difficult because of the army commander – Atma Singh (Pankaj Tripathi)
The way the story unfolds in a rather odd yet intriguing mix of satire meshed with the lacksydaisical, mundane humour, is phenomenal. Without sharing the details of the plot, I would like to appreciate Rajkummar Rao’s pitch perfect performance. Given the actor has had consecutive film releases over the past months, the change in his body language as Newton, is more pronounced to the audience. You wonder what is it about Rajkummar that makes him so Newton - is it his walk or the way he is enunciating his words… well it is all that and more. His chemistry with his co-actors is remarkable. Anjali Patil is remarkable. Of course, when it comes to Pankaj Tripathi, the applause soars because the two are a treat to watch together. Despite being nemesis, they understand each other in a human way, which is amazing.
Of course, it is the superlative screenplay that also needs a mention. When dealing with a subject as grave, and turning it into a comedy, it is extremely difficult to blur lines. While talking politics, army and rebels in the same breath, to deal with the situation and still have a sense of humour, that in itself is remarkable. Director Amit Masurkar, who has also written the screenplay, manages that beautifully. While the cinematography and locations itself boost the screenplay magnificently, what bowled us over was the background score of the film. It is nothing like the type that’s usually associated with Bollywood and it stays with you. Benedict Taylor – better known as Radhika Apte’s husband in Bollywood – is responsible for this creation and he really deserves a round of applause!
All and all, this is Masurkar’s second feature film and it is already an official entrant to the Oscars. If that doesn’t tell you this man’s calibre, we are certain his next would. Watch out for this young, vivacious filmmaker.