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Last Updated 23.10.2019 | 10:07 PM IST
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Subhash K. Jha speaks about Daayen Ya Baayen

Daayen Ya Baayen goes into one of those lived-in left-out spaces in the back of the beyond where you look forward to a brief visit. It’s one of those quirky films you really, really want to like. It’s got its heart, and to a large extent, art in the right place. But it misses out on a crucial point. It’s not engaging enough to be considered an all-encompassing slice-of-life film about life away from the hustle bustle of the city in the way, say Peepli (Live) was recently.

Like Anusha Rizvi who directed the far more successful Peepli (Live), debutante director Bela Negi knows the world that she elects to enter in her first film. The tranquil Uttarkhand locales are captured by cameraperson Amlan Datta with the minimum of ostentation and optimum warmth and care. This is a world that the creator enters not with the bemused awe of a tourist, but with the tender knowingness of someone who has been away from home and is back now for good or bad.

And so the film’s protagonist Ramesh (the ever-engaging Deepak Dobriyal) returns to his mountainous roots laden with gifts for his family that nobody needs. Damn, they don’t even need Ramesh to be back so long as the monthly cheques from the city keep coming in!

The endearing quirks of a life away from the concrete jungle are ably captured. It helps to have ‘actors’ who are new to the audiences’ eyes. They lend credence to what at times careens towards a self-indulgent narrative mode whereby the artless existence of the locals becomes a pretext to let the storytelling slacken into a soporific pace.

Yet, the film has a certain grace in the way it delicately delineates the humour of the situation of a randomly-won car that turns the protagonist into a kind of local celebrity in his sleepy town.

Interestingly another recent film Do Dooni Chaar also cantered its middleclass satire on the arrival of car in the family. The red automobile in Daayen Ya Baayen never acquires a life of its own removed from the characters. Whether that is a good trait or bad, we cannot say. It all depends on how far down the road of whimsical grassrootedness we are willing to travel with the first-time director.

The most endearing parts of the narration come towards the end when the protagonist and his young son take off on a picaresque journey through the mountains to retrieve their stolen car. Ironically the car doesn’t go very far. The offender can easily be spotted since the roads in the mountains leading outside, are blocked off.

This, I thought, served as a pretty accurate metaphor of the film’s own restricted area of appeal. You cannot but love the endearing backwardness of Bela Negi’s unspoilt people. Whether it’s life in the quaint school(where a lady teacher assigns the knitting of a whole sweater to a hapless young boy) or the sterile bustle on the roads where life just goes on meaninglessly(like the poultry farm of a character whose chicken have all been cooked) …Bela Negi captures that world with first-hand familiarity and affection.

If only this world far away from the madding crowds had a centre!

More Pages: Daayen Ya Baayen Box Office Collection , Daayen Ya Baayen Movie Review

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