Showcasing struggles of rural India

Showcasing struggles of rural India

Great bonding: A poster of the film.

Benegal is back with his rural postcards. This time, he goes to Hyderabad (Chikatpally, to be precise) and digs a well. There, India is not shining, but pining for water. By the time abba Boman Irani and daughter Minissha Lamba get their precious fistful, the master storyteller makes a statement about everything — from ‘bribocracy’ to illiteracy. And the outcome — beautiful cinema.

A political satire, Well Done Abba also scores on the lovely father-daughter bonding. Boman, a driver, is running around the village to get a BPL card while daughter Minissha is perennially on the terrace, flying kites. She is spunky and wouldn’t sacrifice studies for a Sheikh ‘groom’ from Saudi.

Then there is the newlywed sub-engineer (Ravi Kishen) who can’t think beyond sex. And that confines a talent like Sonali Kulkarni to the bedroom.

Benegal regular Rajit Kapoor plays the honest cop while his motormouth wife is upset he can’t buy a bungalow in Banjara Hills.

There is also the photographer-cum-morpher who will put a smiling you next to Gandhi or make Obama shake hands with you.

As abba Irani goes about his job of digging a well by bribing everyone from the sarpanch to the collector, his twin brother (Irani again, in a coloured wig) is happy begging, borrowing and stealing. But the scene-stealer is chachi Ila Arun with her perfect dakhani lingo and mannerism.

Benegal also uses a sweet, little romantic track (between Minissha and Samir Dattani) to deliver some ‘progressive’ messages.

The slow pace is a deterrent in the beginning. But the characters soon get down to their business and at the end, it’s a job well done.

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