A searing, soulful mirror on FDI miasma

A searing, soulful mirror on FDI miasma

Holding a reflective mirror to the detrimental effects of FDI retail on local, neighbourhood kirana shops is P Seshadri in his latest celluloid outing Bharat Stores.

While the film is laudable for its honest and topical take on a subject that has roiled various political class, Bharat Stores, however, falls flat as Seshadri adopts a facile, workman-like approach in dealing with the burning topic.

 Instead of aesthetic, elevating experience that expectedly would leave an indelible impression on the minds of viewers, Bharat Stores is a soulless, sketchy attempt skimming the surface and never delving deeper into the larger ramifications of the subject.

The film, through the pitiable plight and pangs of protagonist Govinda Shetty’s descent into obilivion, makes a case against the Union government’s apathetic and purblind policy, which has opened the floodgates for multinational brands, sounding the death knell for petty-shop owners.

However, despite Dattatreya playing with aplomb the archetypal neighbourhood sugary, syrupy salesman, providing personalised service, the narrative lacks necessary delineation to sustain interest.

Seshadri concentrating only on Govinda Shetty and playing on the emotive aspect than rational dissection of the sensitive subject, renders Bharat Stores singularly unidimensional, though he tries to feebly bring in other viewpoints through short conversations Govinda Shetty and his ilk have during their early morning musings.

Tracing the tragic circumstances that push the handy and obliging Govinda Shetty, endearing him to all — from small children with toffees, to touchy, military-disciplined demanding customers, thro­u­gh flashbacks and fast forwards — as Bharati, his debtor’s daughter, tries to track him to clear her father’s due, Seshadri traces the inev­i­t­able and tragic doom of Govinda Shetty, who lacks the marketing muscle of the multinationals and their glitzy gimmicks, in a perfunctory manner.

Given that Seshadri has groomed himself to be a different director, he still lacks the astuteness deserving of a seasoned auteur. Despite his seven forays fetching the recognition duly deserving, Seshadri is yet to scale the rubicon of cinematic excellence.

For, despite Seshadri’s sterling efforts to engage his audience in debate, his woolly script defeats this purpose. As a result, Bharat Stores comes across as another ensemble Seshadri setpiece, budgeted more towards an award than erudite cinema. Still, despite its cinematic shortcomings, Bharat Stores makes for an educative watch. The film hits the theatres this Friday.

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