Release Date: 21st March, 2014
Cast: Sanjay Mishra, Rajat Kapoor, Seema Bhargava Pahwa, Taranjeet Kaur, Maya Sarao, Namit Das, Manu Rishi Chaddha, Brijendra Kala
Director: Rajat Kapoor
Producer: Manish Mundra
Plot: Raje Bauji is a man in his late fifties, living out a dreary but eventful life in a small house in old Delhi- where he lives with his extended family.
A random incident is going to change his life in a dramatic way- though he does not realize at the moment. Bauji’s daughter has been seeing a boy of ill repute. When that fact is revealed to the family, after much deliberation they decide to do the obvious- lock up the girl and go beat the willful boy.
But things don’t quite turn out the way they were supposed to – and Bauji has an epiphany. He takes a tough call- He decides that he would never believe what he has not learnt through his own experience. The only truth for him would be the truth of his life, the truth that has passed through the verifier of his senses.
He takes on that difficult journey, where he would be called a mad man, a saint- or most often, just a fool. All of it, but he is steadfast on his path.
It starts with simple things- he cannot be sure who the prime minister of India is; he is not sure whether it is Sunday today; he is not sure if the earth is round- because when he sees it, it seems flat and his own experience tells him that if he walked on a round spherical ball, he would fall.
What he can be sure of, is the fact that it is day right now, and that will be followed by night. That he knows – that is the truth of his lived experience.
His relatives of course think of this as mid life crisis. His wife takes it on as another challenge. His boss is less forgiving- Bauji loses his job. But he gains a band of loyal followers, who came initially to mock him but found some substance in what he says- and are now his loyal students.
Meanwhile, Rishi- Bauji’s younger brother moves out of the house with his family. This shocks Bauji and he falls ill. Being told by his wife that his real disease is that he talks too much- he decides to not talk. Giving up words, he finds himself better connected to things, to feelings.
There is no fixed path though; Bauji keeps retracting, not ashamed to go back a step to take two steps in a new direction- though at all times keeping to the spirit of his decision.
It is a funny old journey of this man, this old fool- who is both Lear and the fool.
Rating: 3.5/5 Stars (Three and half stars)
Star cast: Sanjay Mishra, Rajat Kapoor, Seema Bhargava Pahwa, Taranjeet Kaur, Maya Sarao, Namit Das, Manu Rishi Chaddha, Brijendra Kala
Director: Rajat Kapoor
What’s Good: It is an invariably sweet story that doesn’t lose its innocence in its layers.
What’s Bad: Some parts might come across as a little contrived failing its grip on the story.
Loo break: None at all.
Watch or Not?: If Mithya was an irresistible dark comedy that held too many surprises for you, Ankhon Dekhi is just as predictable and yet so hard-to-let-go delicious. Magnificently conceptualized, it is eventually Rajat Kapoor’s intriguing vision and his ability to keep it consistently engaging all through its screen time, is what makes this offering a decadent watch that must be savored.
Babuji (Sanjay Mishra ) is compelled by a misguided decision of his life to follow the path of vision solely. Everything that he does henceforth is all a byproduct of his experiences. While it seems all hunky dory in theory, the practice becomes challenging when his belief makes him give up his job and severe ties with his younger brother.
Being branded as mad by all and sundry, the film traces his journey to the eventual culmination of his mantra of experience.
Ankhon Dekhi Review: Script Analysis
When it comes films like these, it probably becomes the hardest to write reviews. Not because the subject matter is too diverse but it is preferable to relish such films rather than dissecting them. However, to fulfill my professional commitments I absolutely must begin. The basic theme of the film is about a man who refuses to believe anything that hasn’t been validated by his own experience. As simple as the idea may sound in theory, it is afterall Rajat’s unusual bent of mind that makes this film as spirited and layered as it turns out to be.
Babuji’s eccentric mind becomes the cause of it all, be it the highs and lows of the narrative, the tense pitch and the high voltage climax or even the infallibility of the story is all attributed to the same source. To make the story palatable despite the essential complexity of it is what must indeed have been a task, but somehow Kapur doesn’t fumble too much with it.
Though the film’s beginning itself made the ending extremely predictable, it doesn’t hinder you from enjoying its quaint moments. In middle of his daughter’s wedding preparation when Babuji gets up and goes to the zoo to check whether a tiger really roars or merely mews or when he argues with a Maths teacher how infinity is undefined and hence maths is a faulty subject are all breathtakingly enjoyable scenes.
And yet there are many which are sheer hiccups. Mostly the protagonist getting involved in gambling is something that never got tinted the correct amount of real. Even the ending of the film made it look pointless or even the beginning of Babuji’s idea just as wobbly but the beauty of the film is far reaching than these trivialities.
Ankhon Dekhi Review: Star Performances
Sanjay Mishra delivers one of his most accomplished performances ever. Managing to seep in every inkling of what the role could have possibly demanded, he is perfectly nuanced in his work. He could have easily come off as over-the-top but he remains gripped in the character only to awe you.
Seema Pahwa matches his marvelous performance with her potential. And she is just as brilliant in the role, if not more. Her hyper nature to her caring demeanor all fall in place perfectly.
Rajat Kapoor is also a perfect fit in the family jumble on screen. He is smooth and calm, but his wrath is as ferocious and arrogant.
Infact, everyone from the ensemble cast has been commendably handpicked and they fall in place without hitches. Luckily every little character contributes positively to the film.
Ankhon Dekhi Review: Direction, Editing and Screenplay
Rajat Kapoor has created his own own brand of cinema that intends to baffle the audiences by posing unassuming questions that are meant to baffle and are yet pretty simple in their existence.
The ingenious film unleashes a world that has been left untouched by cinema. Touching the realms of surreal, it is only possible to soak in the film rather than try to sum it up in words. The music obviously is beneficial to the film’s feel and appeals to the ears.
Ankhon Dekhi Review: The Last Word
Ankhon Dekhi has every element in it that makes it a flattering watch. Heart warming in parts and easy to get entrapped in, the film is mindbogglingly engaging. Its impossible to dismiss this film, because of its mounting moments that soar all through. I am going with 3.5/5 and a simple question. When is your next expected Mr Kapoor?
Ankhon Dekhi Trailer
Ankhon Dekhi releases on 21st March, 2014.
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