The Cast and the Crew
Directed by Shyam Benegal
Produced by Chetan Motiwalla, Ronnie Screwvala
Music by Shantanu Moitra
Release date September 19, 2008
The seasoned, award winning and acclaimed director Shyam Benegal, who had all along been known for intense soul searching films, comes out with a simply superb mindful comedy which tells the story of a bunch of villagers, their hopes, fears, aspirations and anxieties.
We empathise with many of the characters for the simple reason that we come across such characters every day of our lives. Their stories are told from through a letter writer without any stylistic cinematic techno-gimmiks.
Instead of giving any synopsis of the film an introduction of the various characters is given. This film is in the episodic cinema genre, but all tracks are skillfully interwoven into an attractive plait.
The entire film unfolds in the village of Sajjanpur village. The players are Mahadev (Shreyas Talpade) a
wannabe novelist but settling down to a professional letter-writer at the post office. His regular customers are a plotting politician (Yashpal Sharma), a superstitious mother (Ila Arun) eager to get her daughter (Divya Dutta) married, a eunuch(Ravi Jhankal) with political ambitions, a married woman (Amrita Rao) whose husband has not come to the village since last four years and a hospital compounder (Ravi Kishan) in love with a widow (Rajeshwari Sachdeva).
The film explores each character and its trials and travails. The letter writer sometimes takes liberties and does certain things to help his clients, which most of the time end up otherwise.
Shreyas Talpade has given an extraordinary performance and so does Amrita Rao and Yashpal Sharma. There are endearing roles played by Ravi Jhankal and Ila Arun.
The director has extracted good performances from the entire cast. No character looks out of the way and no actor has either underplayed or overplayed their roles.
Ashok Mishra has penned a no lag story line with taught screenplay and fully developed characters. The dialogues are truly rural with rustic punches. The director handles the entire story cleanly with very clear and uncomplicated cinematic communication.
Since an entire set of Sajjanpur has been erected at the Ramoji Film City in Hyderabad for shooting of this film, art director Samir Chanda has done a commendable job. Cinematography by Rajan Kothari is in sync with the narration style of the director. The music by Shantanu Moitra is easy on the ears and suits the moods of the film.
Shyam Benegal is a past master in story telling and has his own style of writing a gripping screenplay. In this film, though he was dealing with a light hearted storyline, his skills are still at his best and he makes the film with the dictum that simplicity is the best policy for cinematically telling a simple story.
Yes, you are always whole heartedly Welcome to Sajjanpur. You will thoroughly enjoy your stay.
3 out of 5
Review by Deen Kumar