Films,  Reviews

Do paise ki dhoop, Chaar aane ki baarish: A review

The first thing which grabbed my attention as I was browsing through Netflix was the title of the film. Do paise ki dhoop, chaar aane ki baarish, sounded like something Gulzar might have written, and I was right in my guess. The film draws its name from the lyrics of a song written by Gulzar. But this is Deepti Naval’s debut film as director. She has also written the story and screenplay of this film. I have always admired Deepti Naval for her multiple talents. She is a sensitive actor, painter, photographer, writer and so much more.

Do paise ki dhoop, chaar aane ki baarish is a film I find difficult to categorize. It is a sensitive portrayal of the relationship between a middle- aged prostitute, her teenage son and a gay lyricist, who are thrown together under unusual circumstances. At first instance I thought the characters were all stereotyped. Manisha Koirala plays Juhi, the prostitute dressed in a blingy red saree, cheap golden heels and garish red lipstick. Sanaj Naval, the director’s nephew plays Kaku, Juhi’s son. He is confined to a wheelchair and is unable to speak. He communicates by banging a mug against his wheelchair in different rhythms. His relationship with his mother is rather strained, as she is too busy making ends meet, to give him time. Rajit Kapur plays Debu, an out-of-work lyricist, who is going through heartbreak as his boyfriend dumps him. He displays the so-called stereotypical mannerisms of a gay man intermittently. However it is the handling of the story which makes this a film better than ordinary. As the film progresses, you begin to see the relationship between these three characters alter. The film has its sweet moments. Like the way Juhi ends up judging Debu’s sexuality, despite her own flaws. And the way they eventually reconcile to their quirks.

What worked for me? Rajit Kapur. He emotes effortlessly, displaying pain, helplessness, pleasure and happiness aptly, and he is the one who makes this film look real. Sanaj Naval’s eyes speak, even when his lips can’t. He has made an impressive debut. Manisha Koirala has done a good job, specially in parts where she realizes that age is catching up and she will soon be out of a job. But there are parts when she slips into the typical predictable street worker reaction.

Deepti Naval’s love for old Hindi film songs shines through this film. You find the main protagonists talking to each other in film lyrics and expressing their feelings. Yet, these very film songs are the film’s undoing when used too much in a critical scene towards the end of the movie. A little more editing would have helped. I remember Gulzar saying somewhere that in his early films, he gave his characters too much dialogue. Sometimes silences and mere looks suffice. That’s a lesson that Deepti Naval could take from Gulzar.

The movie is filmed in the torrential rains of Mumbai, and cinematographer Kiran Deohans captures the magic of the monsoons, and the changing moods perfectly. One particular metaphor I liked was the use of an autorickshaw with a bunch of yellow balloons, which rumbled in when the times changed for the better, and drove off when things turned melancholic.

This is a 2009 film which was screened at the Cannes film festival. And it has won accolades at other international festivals. Sadly films which are out of the league do not find too many takers for mainstream release. Netflix has given a new lease of life to this film, albeit a decade later. Catch up with it. It is worth a one time watch.

One Comment

  • ANANYA

    So agree with your review here… being a single mother I know the fight Manish was going through albeit thank the Lord I am in a more stable profession… my heart went out to her when she would snap at her son not meaning it… being both mother and father is tough…truly speaking the ending left me wistful… if only someone would love my child like me and not expect anything know return but a family… the movie resonates with many of us in this day today… seeking love – manish, kaku and rajit Kapoor’s character…💖💖

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