2 Comments Published by Pranav Rohit Kasinath on Tuesday, December 30, 2008 at 8:51 PM.
Sajjanpur is a modern day Malgudi, albeit a darker and greyer version. Filled with enchanting characters and a touch of village humour, Welcome to Sajjanpur is an amazing watch.
The story traces the fortunes of the village of Sajjanpur through the eyes of its 'letter writer' Mahadev (Shreyas Talpade). Besotted with his childhood crush Kamala(Amrita Rao) - who happens to be married...he does everything in his power to break the happily married couple, sowing seeds of discontent in order to win over the girl. However, his scheming has unexpected and tragic results.
Though this may be the main thread that runs through the story there are many other characters brought to life...the local goon, the eunuchs who contest in the election, the compounder in love with a widow, and a cantankerous snake charmer- all important parts of the vibrant potrait taking shape in front of your eyes.
The casting is simply brilliant and Shreyas Talpade more than does justice to his role as Mahadev- witty, charming and an unscrupulous rogue, he doesnt fail to touch your heart. Amrita Rao is perfect as the innocent Kamala. Pretty, sweet and lonely, she manages to bring a depth to her character that hints at a potential for acting yet to be realised...Ila Arun and Ravi Kishen are laugh out loud funny and brilliant. The humor in the film lies in the dialogue - typical village dialect, wonderfully laced with sarcasm and humor that tickles your funny bone.
The film attempts at capturing the rural mindset and does just that. Talking about the contradictions of our country, its problems, and our lackadaisical manner of dealing with them - with a shrug of the shoulder and a nod of the head-Shyam Benegal does a brilliant job of making the film thought provoking without being too preachy.
There are songs but they take a backseat, somehow not interfering with the narrative, but adding to your involvement in the lives of the characters as they unfold. A particularly hilarious number - Munne ki Bari - is one of my favourites.
From its perfect casting, to its perfect ending(not because it isnt tragic - but because you cant really imagine it ending any other way...) Welcome to Sajjanpur defines the new breed of Indian Cinema making its way to the fore, not burdened with heavy production costs or stars, but with actors and a good script, its the stuff good movies are made of - Quality.