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REVIEW: Road, Movie is cool

Now, don’t get confused. This one is nothing like Ram Gopal Varma’s Vivek Oberoi-Antara Mali starrer Road or John Hillcoat’s The Road here.

Having wooed the audiences with films like Split Wide Open and English August, director Dev Benegal in his Road, Movie takes his viewers for yet another ride that one isn’t likely to forget in a long time.

Here we find a defiant Vishnu (Abhay Deol) setting off on a journey in his antique Chevy truck, desperately trying to escape becoming a salesman at his father’s hair oil company.

Little does Vishnu know that the old truck is actually an old touring cinemascope which used to be quite popular at one point in time.

As Vishnu progresses on the desert road he first comes across a young lad who works at a roadside tea shop. The boy requests Vishnu to give him a lift to which he agrees half-heartedly.

As luck would have it, the truck breaks down in the middle of the road and an irritated Vishnu blames the boy for the same. The boy leaves Vishnu in a huff, but returns the next day with an old mechanic (Satish Kaushik). The mechanic agrees to help only if he gets a lift to a nearby carnival. Vishnu picks him up for his own selfish reason.

The film uses the barren landscape to a great advantage. The virile rust and brown frames look picturesque. But the scorching heat soon poses a problem for the travellers as they face serious water crisis.

But the three wilted wanderers continue their excursion. This time around they encounter a gypsy lady (Tannishtha Chatterjee) in blue. She not only helps quench their thirst but also guides them towards a well from which they can fetch water. So far so good.

The four characters trapped in a queer game of love and hate blend into the scenario almost effortlessly. In Road, Movie the actors completely belong to the world that they inhabit. Their chance discovery of the magic of cinema and the way they use it to tame cops, goons and common folk alike are hilarious.

Abhay Deol with a constant frown on his face, except when he is with the gypsy woman, easily looks the part of an ‘angry young man.’

Mohammad Faizal as the young lad with a sharp tongue leaves you in splits with his naughty comments. Satish Kaushik as the elderly mechanic, who protects all at every step, impresses you with his performance.

Tannishtha Chatterjee as the beautiful gypsy woman perfectly complements Abhay on screen. The chemistry between them is quite searing.

The hair oil motif, which comes in handy to grease the old projectors as well as to fool the water mafia – who hoards water and sells it to the rich – reminds you of a similar situation in Split Wide Open. Though one may fight it unnecessary, the Gabbar spoof Benegal uses here forces a hearty laugh.

French cinematographer Michel Amathieu’s brilliant camera work makes it a visual delight.

The screenplay is good and the editing superb, which doubles the charm of watching this film. Dev Benegal scores full marks as a director to keep the film short and crisp, with the right dosage of thrill, humour, sarcasm and reality rolled into one.

VERDICT: A must watch.


One Response to “REVIEW: Road, Movie is cool”

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