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Upperstall Review


Official Site

Road, Movie


Hindi, Drama, 2010, Color

Cast And Crew

Vishnu (Abhay Deol), a restless young man, itches to escape his father's faltering hair oil business. An old truck beckons, which, Vishnu sees as his ticket to freedom. He offers to drive the antique Chevy across the desert to the sea, where it has been sold to a local museum. As he sets off across the harsh terrain of desert India, he discovers he's not merely transporting a battered vehicle but an old touring cinema. Along the way, Vishnu reluctantly picks up a young runaway (Mohammed Faizal Usmani), a wandering old mechanic (Satish Kaushik) and a gypsy woman (Tannishtha Chatterjee). Together they roam in the barren land, searching for water and an elusive fair. The journey turns dire when they are waylaid by corrupt cop (Virendra Saxena) and a notorious water lord (Yashpal Sharma). The key to their freedom is the eccentric collection of films and the two forty-year-old film projectors in the back of the truck. The journey proves transformative for each of the travelers, but especially for Vishnu who discovers life, love and laughter on the Indian highway.

At least Abhay Deol reaches his destination finally in Road, Movie. Wish one could say the same about the film. One is totally clueless as to what is the point that the film is trying to make. To make matters worse, the story telling is flat, dull and lifeless, the central actor is miscast, the rest of the performances are very ordinary and the film is largely devoid of any moments, whatsoever.

Road, Movie should have been a charming, heart-warming, feel good, quirky journey. Sadly, it is none of those things. OK, so it explores the magic of cinema and the charm of the touring cinemas in rural India; it delves on the water mafia in a desert state like Rajasthan, where people have to sometimes search for water for days but what of it? The screenplay is weak, clunky, unfocussed, and flows jerkily and sluggishly while hardly ever rising to any great heights. The characters lack flesh and blood and even sequences like the fair, or those of the screenings of old films, which should have had a magical Cinema Paradiso like feel to them, fall flat. And the less said of the entire sequence with the waterlord the better. It is plain absurd.

The performances don't help much either. Abhay Deol is miscast as the small town guy who wants to break free. He is much too metro like in his look and much too polished for his character. Satish Kaushik comes off relatively best as, at least, he has the odd one line that brings a smile to the face. Tannishtha Chatterjee is fast getting typecast in films made for 'international' audiences and the festival circuit as the dusky Indian belle. Mohammed Faizal Usmani, Virendra Saxena and Yashpal Sharma are plain wasted.

Just about the only plus of the film really is some of the on-location camerawork by cinematographer Michael Amathieu. The rest of the technicalities are just about so-so. With its slow pace, even the 95 minutes running time gets to you.

All in all, Road, Movie perhaps needed a map to help find its destination. Not having one, it simply gets lost and takes the road to nowhere.

Upperstall review by: Karan Bali aka TheThirdMan

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