FROM FAIL TO DISTINCTION IN A 100 MINUTES
Educate the girl child. Yes. Agreed. We must. But we’re talking of a country where a large percentage of women in rural india aren’t educated. Even if they did understand the importance of giving their daughters an education why would those daughters dream big? With no precedents to fall back on for inspiration what is going to motivate these girls to be more than their previous generations? This is something that probably was the inspiration behind the script of Nil Battey Sannata.
To personify the previous uneducated generation we have Chanda Sahay / Swara Bhaskar. And the current generation which will be our tomorrow as a nation we have the stubborn as a mule Appu / Riya Shukla. Our understanding of this issue will only be as strong as our feelings for the argument, war and discourse between these two.
Appu personifies what is the future of our country, a fused bulb, which is what her professor Pankaj tiwari calls her. And this fused bulb needs to be lit up again. That’s the premise of this film.
Despite some script weaknesses like the almost force fitting of the Mother into her daughters class and a couple of other such nagging glitches, the relationship between Mother and daughter is beautiful. To compete with your Jigar Ka Tukda for her own good is sometimes heart wrenching. And both Swara and the director pull this off beautifully.
The story makes us feel the complicated emotion of a mother who has to teach her daughter tough lessons sometimes at the expense of her immediate happiness. And the force of this message and story will only come across if the antagonist, in this case, Appu, is a strong one. She is so stubborn that there are points where you yourself want to jump in and teach her a lesson. And we need to feel this. For then when Chanda / Swara succeeds we feel it strongly enough.
Swara Bhaskar is an endearing actress. Give her a small role and you’ll look out for her in the whole film. Give her the main role and you’ll feel for the whole film. Riya Shukla is a find. And so are Sweety and the little boy with a Freeda kahlo-esk unibrow.
We need more films like these that take up issues and give us possible solutions without being preachy. For that’s the true power of fiction. To take us closer to the truth sometimes than even reality can.
Nil Battey Sannata doesn’t fail even once at making you feel for Chanda sahay and so for the older generation who needs to come up with an aspiration for the next generation despite not having made much of themselves in the classical sense of our understanding of success.
In this the film gets a distinction.