Welcome to Sajjanpur is Shyam Benegalâ€™s third genuine commercial film in the decade of the 2000â€™s after Zubeida (00â€™)and Bose(05â€™).The protagonist and narrator of this story is Mahadev (Shreyas Talpade) who is the only genuinely educataed person in his village who employs himself by writing letters for the whole of the village if and when needed and this gives him insights into the lifeâ€™s of these very people which he sometimes manipulates fiendishly, but he is a good person at heart nonetheless.
The story is set in the noveau Indian village where people are aware of the rapid strides taken by the nation and the technological progress but sadly the benefit has yet to trickle down to small places such as theirs.
The first half gives just the snapshots of the various characters in the film and no concrete storyline seems to be developing except for the fact that the protagonist is manipulating the letters of a naÃ¯ve and trusting village belle (Amrita Rao) and ex-classmate who is trying to communicate with her husband toiling far away in Mumbai, because he is love with her.
The pace that seemed idyllic prior to interval begins to drag on in post the interval in which Mahadev, the main lead realizes that his lies have multiplied and is causing havoc in other peoples life and he sets himself to correct his wrongs. The narrative is discontinuous and at least two of the songs were crass although the lyrics had a rustic twang to them.
The screenplay resembles the street play content conducted by NGOâ€™s and a better background score was needed .The ensemble cast did a good job overall throughout the movie but the there are just too few enjoyable moments.
Along the way, the director doesnâ€™t highlight on one particular ill of the society but quietly points to the various outdated societal banes that still are extant hamper the people. Itâ€™s with a heavy heart that I criticize this film because at its helm is one of the finest directors of the alternative cinema movement of the 70â€™s and 80â€™s.It would be prudent to understand that not all attempts, although with the noblest of intentions result in a jewel. I give an average rating and a two star to Welcome to Sajjanpur.