Rating: 3/5 Stars (Three stars)
Star Cast: Farrukha Jaffar, Prakhar Morchhale, Saara Nahar, Ajay Chourey, Purva Parag, Kuldeep Dubey
Director: Praveen Morchhale
What’s Good: The poignancy of the story which truly sucks you in. With Barefoot To Goa, director Praveen Morchhale shows us the great divide between rural and urban India. Keeping it crisp, the film does not beat around the bush and comes straight to the point.
What’s Bad: While this defines what avant-garde cinema is, the director chooses to look beyond the acting prowess of his cast and concentrates more on the issue at hand. Not all films are meant to be measured on the basis of their technicality and if you have the taste to look beyond these, you will savour this film.
Loo break: You can hold it for 80 minutes of meaningful cinema!
Watch or Not?: Barefoot To Goa is a cathartic experience and if you cannot find connect to it, there is nothing in store for you. The crux of the film is in its story and genuinely looking beyond what is served, it is filled with implied meanings and only a sound mind can understand that.
Barefoot To Goa, that’s the journey two young siblings Diya and Prakhar undertake to bring home their ailing and abandoned grandmother from Goa. At an age when life is full of studies and games, a young Divya is busy finding the meaning of cancer in a dictionary. Why? When Divya lands up with a letter from her Daadi which was hidden by her mother, she learns that her Grandmother who stays in Goa is suffering from Cancer and is asking her son to come see her.
Brought up in an urban household in Mumbai, Divya’s mother is a narrow-minded materialistic lady who cares about her luxuries more than her husband’s mother and has kept him away from her all these years. The ailing grandmother is mute and is abandoned all alone with a big house. In spite of her son not replying to her, she is hell bent on writing to him and even sends him his favorite ‘Laddoos’ which are thrown in the dustbin by her daughter-in-law when they are delivered at home.
It is young Divya who is the only person who seems to have a soft corner for her Daadi and thus convinces her brother to take on a road trip all by themselves, only to get their Daadi home.
This is a story of innocence being lost amidst the harsh realities of love and death.
Barefoot To Goa Review: Script Analysis
It is hard to capture emotions and present them in less than two hours with a cast that is not recognized or even possessing the quality to excel on screen. Morchhale does that as he tackles two main issues in less than 100 minutes. India is a country that boasts of culture and where we say ‘we must respect our elders’ well, we have come far beyond that and with nuclear families coming in and the standard of living becoming costlier by the day, people prefer to exchange their people for things.
Through this beautifully written script, Morchhale tells us what it is to see a world of love and affection through the eyes of young kids. They take on a road trip all alone and you are provided with an assurance that there is still good left in the world. As they take on this journey, we see them teach us a lot of things.
When Divya and her brother take a lift from a stranger on a bike who has caged pigeons with him, she releases them without his notice. It is scenes like these where you know, the director is expecting you to look at the underlined themes. Another beautiful scene in the film is when Divya and Prakhar seek help from a mute farmer and his wife who in spite of all their poverty, treat the children as guests and serve them the food they eat irrespective of the already minimal quantity. It is virtues like these that triumph in the struggles of life. What remains incomplete with this story is the other side, like Divya’s mother approaching the police for her missing children and what happens next with it.
Barefoot To Goa Review: Star Performances
The film starts off with Farrukha Jaffar who plays the grandmother. She is mute and while age has got to her, as an ailing grandmother who is abandoned by her children, Jaffar gives a performance that is enough to get your eyes moist. Without any dialogues, her expressions say it all and the pain in her eyes is completely disheartening.
Saara Nahar who plays Divya is truly a delight. She is the innocent child who does not understand her mother’s hostility towards her Daadi and is brave enough to take a trip on stranger lands to save the life of her grandmother. Divya gives an endearing performance in the film.
Prakhar who plays the brother is quite perfect in his role too. He does a good job at playing a confused elder brother who is scared of his parents and yet wants to support his younger sister who wants to save their grandmother.
Purva Parag, who plays the mother is weak when it comes to her dialogue delivery and certain scenes lose their impact because of it. Even though she does a convincing job of a careless daughter-in-law with her expressions, her speech does not seem natural enough to give the character its required flavour.
Kuldeep Dubey as the father has only one or two scenes in the film and they have nothing extraordinary to talk about.
Ajay Chourey as the typist is another person in the film whose character is important and he even does it well. On one hand where, Jaffar’s letters are going unanswered by her son, Ajay’s character yearns for a loving mother and thus is always at the help of Jaffar.
Barefoot To Goa Review: Direction, Editing and Screenplay
The essence of this film lies in its simplicity and innocence. It is devoid of any commercial elements to make it a film per se but it is more like a short story on celluloid. Praveen Morchchale’s Barefoot To Goa will grow on you with certain scenes. The film may not find an instant connect but it gradually teaches you the kind of society we live in and how ageing has become a fear for people. While on one hand, Morchchale shows us Divya’s house which is a plush flat where the kids have their own room, there are Macbooks and LED TVs, what they lack on is values. The husband thinks he is a money vending machine and the wife wants to enjoy luxuries, this scene exactly contrasts with a rural mute couple who have nothing but a small farm which is drying up thanks to the heat and little water to quench their thirsts, it is this great divide that Morchhale portrays well with the film.
With the scene of an old Jaffar walking miles to write a letter to her son who does not even respond, Morchhale shows how India has transformed from being a cultural society with family being at the apex to turning a blind eye to our old and ageing parents who eventually become a burden to many, leading to their abandonment.
Barefoot To Goa Review: The Last Word
Barefoot To Goa is like watching a short story on celluloid. It seemed little hurried with an abrupt ending but nonetheless it is successful in sending out the required message. Emotion is the essence of this film and only those who cherish them will enjoy it. I am going with a 3/5 for this film.
Barefoot To Goa Trailer
Barefoot To Goa releases on 10th April, 2015.
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