Movie Review Of "Road"

Starring: Abhay Deol, Tannishtha Chatterjee, Mohammed Faizal and Satish Kaushik

Director: Dev Benegal

Rating: *1/2

Road, Movie is about the journey of Vishnu (Abhay Deol) who travels miles in a very old truck which often breaks down along the way. Driving through the desert state of Rajasthan, he first befriends a young boy (Mohammed Faizal) who works as a helper in a roadside tea stall.

The boy hitches a ride with him as he wants to go to another village to hunt for a new job. When the truck breaks down for the first time, the boy walks a long distance in the barren land to hunt for a mechanic.

He finally gets one, Om (Satish Kaushik), who agrees to repair the truck on the condition that he would then hitch a ride to the village where a fair is being held.

Along the way, the three meet a gypsy woman (Tannishtha Chatterjee) who is walking in the scorching heat and has a small pouch of water. She shares the water with the thirsty threesome and also joins them in the truck. The truck, which doesn’t belong to Vishnu, has a touring cinema inside.

Vishnu uses the touring cinema in the truck to show movies to the villagers when he is in a tight spot. Om helps him in starting the dilapi dated projector and, in the process of showing movies in the villages, they also make money.

Vishnu is first confronted by a difficult policeman (Virendra Saxena) and later, by the water mafia (Yashpal Sharma and group) along the way, but he manages to save himself, his truck and his travelling friends, thanks to the touring talkies and to the hair-oil bottles he is carrying in cartons to sell at his destination.

He finds himself attracted to wards his woman passenger and they even get physical.

At one stop, Om passes away while enjoying a movie. Finally, it is time for Vishnu to bid the woman and the boy goodbye.

The story (Dev Benegal) offers hardly anything to the audience in India which is not used to watching such road films. Even the screenplay, penned by Dev Benegal himself, is so slow-moving that it actually tests the audience’s patience.

Even a climax in the traditional sense of the word is missing. Frankly, since the hero doesn’t set out on a great mission in the first place, the audience does not experience a feeling of fulfilment in the end, something the public in India is so used to experiencing in every film.

In the same sense, there is no heroism of the hero, Vishnu. Even fans of Abhay Deol and his kind of films would feel let down by the fare on offer. Dialogues (Dev Benegal) are natural and witty, but only at places.

Abhay Deol does a fine job and gets into the skin of his character. He is completely in synch with the mood of the film. Satish Kaushik is also just too natural. He endears himself to the audience with his raw audacity.

Tannishtha Chatterjee gets limited scope and is good. Mohammed Faizal is cute and supremely confident. Yashpal Sharma leaves a mark. Virendra Saxena is effective.

Michael Brook’s music and background score are good. Michel Amathieu’s cinemato graphy and Yaniv Dabach’s editing are nice. But on the whole, Road, Movie is too dull and dry to make an impact among the audience in India.