Directed by Chris Smith
Rating: 4 Out of 5 stars
Published: 15 November, 2012
by DAN CARRIER
A new hero is born: all hail the delectable character Venkatesh (Venkatesh Chavan), a bus boy working in the town of Panjim, in the Indian seaside state of Goa.
This unique and beautifully told story features Venkatesh and Jhangir, two boys working in menial posts, trying to scrape themselves a living.
Venkatesh enjoys sitting in his little spot in a mango tree and staring over a fence at a gorgeous garden with a lovely pool. The water seems so tempting to him, so perfect, that he seems lured to it like a siren.
His curiosity means he offers his services to the home’s owner and this kickstarts a consideration of what the individual can do to better one’s self, what forces there are that conspire to keep you in the strata in which you’ve been born. There is a message here that David Cameron could learn from about his supposed class of “strivers” and how simply putting in a shift does not automatically mean you’ll head up the economic scale.
Throw in some love interest with a girl called Ayesha and the charm of this film is pretty much perfect. It clearly chronicles the old haves and have-nots in a country we continually hear of being a 21st-century economic powerhouse.
Whatever the future holds for India, it is still riddled with massive economic dislocation among its population, and while the emergence of a super-rich oligarchic class is a fact, the trickle-down effect so beloved by rich, selfish people is clearly no much in evidence. On the one side we have a very real ringside seat to the daily grind of trying to find enough cash to put some food on a plate, on the other, a world of luxury.
This is no Slumdog Millionaire, with no big bangs, no glitzy telling of an India where people wear gold-trimmed saris. It’s a real insight into the struggles of young people in this vast country to make ends meet.
What is perhaps more remarkable is director Chris Smith has chosen young non-actors and got superb performances from them, and it’s all done in Hindi, a language he doesn’t speak himself.