In an industry where fame and fortune changes every Friday, where equations and relations are correlated with the BO earnings [strange, but true!], the only thing that remains constant is change. Several film-makers are making an earnest attempt to be an integral part of the transformation, attempting wide-ranging genres and embarking on a path less travelled. Of late, a number of storytellers are in the mood to attempt satires, doing away with the mundane and unexciting tried and trusted stuff. Recall PEEPLI [LIVE], OMG - OH MY GOD! JOLLY LLB, SAARE JAHAAN SE MEHNGAâ€¦ more recently, there was DEKH TAMASHA DEKH. Now Janaki Vishwanathan attempts a satire that's set against the backdrop of rural India -- YEH HAI BAKRAPUR.
Like Anusha Rizvi, who directed PEEPLI [LIVE], Janaki, has also been a journalist. The question that crosses your mind is, why do journalists attempt satires? I guess, when you watch life at such close quarters -- examining the ludicrousness and illogicalities so meticulously -- you hope to present the myriad experiences on celluloid some day. And what better genre than satire to highlight the message. After all, tackling a grim issue and coating it with humor makes it easily palatable, right?
I am told the premise of YEH HAI BAKRAPUR is inspired by a news-report about a goat brought from Rajasthan to Delhi. The story explores the innocent relationship between Zulfi [Shameem Khan], a young kid, and his pet goat Shah Rukh. Burdened with poverty, recurring expenses and loans, the family is always in distress because Ansari [Asif Basra] and his nephew Majid [Faiz Khan] don't earn enough to sustain the family. As a last resort, the family decides to sell off the goat at a mela, much against the wishes of Zulfi, who is completely heartbroken by the decision.
That's when Jaffer [Anshuman Jha], who is in love with Zulfi's elder sister Naaz [Yaushika Varma], gets a brainwaveâ€¦
YEH HAI BAKRAPUR marks the foray of National Award winner Janaki Vishwanathan into Hindi films [she also doubles up as the writer of this film]. Frankly, she couldn't have chosen a more appropriate theme for her Hindi debut, since the written material offers her ample scope to entertain the viewers with an out-of-the-box theme, plus drive home a serious message. The serpentine twists in the plot and the engaging screenplay manage to keep you alert and attentive, except when Janaki decides to have an abrupt intermission and an open end, which stands out like a sore thumb. Ideally, it would've worked better had she thought of a firm resolution.
Janaki also uses the songs [Agnee] smartly in the narrative; the tracks don't look forced into the goings-on. Like CHENNAI EXPRESS, which paid tribute to Rajinikanth ['Lungi Dance'], the team of YEH HAI BAKRAPUR too pays tribute to SRK towards the end credits. The background score is subtle, but effective. Extensively filmed in Bidar in Karnataka, the DoP [Abinandhan Ramanujam] captures the locales wonderfully on celluloid.
The cast slips naturally into their respective parts. Anshuman Jha and Yaushika Varma enact the lovebirds with conviction. Asif Basra is absolutely at ease, while Faiz Khan is convincing as the helpless husband. However, it is Suruchi Aulakh who breathes life into her character of the nagging housewife Suraiyya. She's remarkable! Shameem Khan, the child artist, exudes the right amount of smartness and innocence required for the part. Wasim Khan [Jaffer's father], Utkarsh Mazumdar and Amit Sial are alright.
On the whole, YEH HAI BAKRAPUR employs a comic tone to tell a serious story. Armed with a simplistic, but innovative plot and an engaging screenplay, this small little film deserves a watch because it's made with heart.