Movie: Nil Battey Sannata
Direction: Ashwini Iyer Tiwari
Cast: Swara Bhaskar, Ratna Pathak, Pankaj Tripathy
Music: Naren Chandavarkar, Benedict Taylor
Cinematographer: Gavemic Ary
Editor: Shekhar Prajapati
Genre: Drama, Family
What is it about: This is a story of a mother, who would do anything for her daughter’s education. And also a story of a daughter who gives a tough time to her mother in achieving that. They hail from a poor family where education is a luxury, but how Chanda (Swara Bhaskar) manages to jump over the hoops to achieve this impossible task, forms the crux of the story directed by Ashwini Iyer Tiwari.
Why it’s disappointing: Let put this section to rest for this film.
What to watch out for: We always see audience complaining, that they don’t get to watch quality films these days and how cinema has got lost in the glitz and glamour with mindless masala, and creativity takes a back seat. The worst part is when such quality film releases, it doesn’t get the recognition and gets lost in the crowd. For instance, I’m from Chennai and there are hardly 3 shows from 3 different multiplex in the city. With such less number of screens allotted to the film, how do you think it will reach the audience? But I got an explanation saying, it’s because the same film is being released in Tamil. Anyways, every language has its audience and these kind of films reach the best watched in the respective languages.
The film has quite a few moments, which we could relate to in our life. And those who have gone through such situations. The film deals with a subject, which is often in question. But in the nation where education has become business and career choice have become options, the youngsters at this point are at a nook which gets them in knots.
There is a scene in the film where Swara Bhaskar goes up to a coaching centre and requests the teacher to give a decent discount for her daughter as she can’t afford the fees. To which that person replies, discount is given to the students who achieve 75% and beyond in academics. And when Swara asks him, don’t you think students who are weak in studies should be offered discounts not the bright ones and the shameful reply you get is, we promote our coaching centres through these bright students so student who are weak in studies can’t fetch them publicity. This is the bitter truth of our system.
Ashwini Iyer Tiwari have handled every aspect with great caution and have derived a film which hits you hard at places and makes you think. The dialogues are the strong suit in the film. Ria Shukla (Apeksha/Apu) in one scene back answers her mother stating, even if I manage to get through the board exams, do you have the capability to handle the expenses for my higher studies? That moment for a mother in that social state with financial difficulties hits hard, and so it does to the audience. Like this there are many moments and dialogues in the film which would force you to think.
Swara Bhaskar finally got a film where she had full scope to showcase her potential. She did a tremendous job, the body language, slang and a performance so convincing that you are demanded to feel for her character. A fantastic character played by a beautiful actress. She has set the bar high for Amala Paul to match in Tamil version.
Ria Shukla, she forms the central character in the film and has performed it with great dedication giving a commendable performance. She was perfect for the role and at places, you will despise her for being so mean to her mother, when the audience get that feeling on a character in the film, then that person has done a great job and as Apeksha she was fabulous.
Pankaj Tripathi as the Principal/Maths Teacher, was one of the best character in the film. He reminded me of my mathematics teacher in 10th. His character has a great variation and the way he mocks a student and drive them to excel better was a great one and he does brings few laughs in the film. The other kids character whose names I can’t remember, one is the close friend of Apeksha, who has a dream to become a driver in the big city and the genius of the class. Both were distinct and were played well.
The cinematography was great by Gavemic U Ary, he did his debut in Kollywood with stupendous “Jigarthanda” and now in Bollywood. His lens work was simplistic yet had its own charisma which reflects on the screen. Rohan & Vinayak did a good job on music and background score. The film was crisply edited to 100 minutes by Chandrashekhar Prajapati.
Verdict: Ashwini did a fantastic job in giving a film, which touches you at many levels emotionally. She makes you laugh, cry and fall in love with the characters in the film. It makes you think, get inspired and relate to it. A great film, which not only ponders on the poor state of education system in our nation, but also explores he nuances in mother-daughter relationship. Definitely worth a watch, don’t miss it and please don’t watch it on torrents. A film which got standing ovation at the end credits, which is a rare scene these days.