“Road, Movie” (R,M) is about a journey, a journey which looks interesting but turns surreal and by the climax looks directionless or a journey that achieves its goal. Its looking at the perspective of Vishnu’s journey.
Vishnu is a bored young man groomed to join his father’s hair oil business which he has no interest. He takes up an assignment to deliver a pre-independence Chrysler truck to a museum in Samudragad across the dessert.
On his journey, he meets a small boy who is looking for a escape from his life, a motor mechanic who knows to repair almost everything and a gypsy widow searching for water. Together they make their journey through desert in search of a road to Samudragad, water and a fair in the middle of the dessert.
The truck houses two 40 year old movie projector and had served as a mobile projector van.
The movie is shot in the hot desert with little or no greenery. On their way they meet corrupt police officer and a water mafia. The movie takes the journey from humorous to surreal to bizarre, At the end of the movie, it does feel like what is the objective of all the journey? Where does the hero and the movie is leading?
I guess its the way you look at things. To some it might be plain boring to see miles and miles of barren dessert and a lone truck making through the dessert on a road which is almost not there. To others, it might be a journey of self realization where the protagonist is exposed to the harsh realities of the country where even after 60 years of Independence, we cannot promise a basic necessity like water for all.
As I said there are different ways of interpreting the story and the characters. I guess you either like it or overwhelmed to make you determine to understand what the story actually told us. Its a surreal story where the situation appear like a mirage in the dessert and the boundary between reality and fiction blurs to a great extent.
Like did the hero-heroine really make love or how is the fair set up in the dessert or
The hair oil serves as a solution for all needs, right from greasing the old projectors to escaping the Water mafia head by making him a “Man” with the oil.
The way I see it, the situation and people are quite symbolic. The dessert represent life with harsh realities and the search of water symbolizes search for happiness by every individual. The four main characters also seem symbolic. The oldest of them being the most experienced who knows that happiness will come no matter what. You just have to believe in it.
I couldn’t help but compare it to Kevin Costner starrer, “Field of Dreams”. Like the movie where the main protagonist builds a baseball stadium so that people will come. Here too the older man erects a movie screen in the middle of nowhere because he knows people will come when the movie starts. He believes it with all his heart and it happens.
The movie has a good cast right from Mohammed Faizal who plays the young boy to Tannishtha Chatterjee who plays the gypsy woman to Satish Kaushik who deviates from his comedy roles to give a good performance after “Brick Lane”
Abhay Deol continues with his unconventional roles and his ability to transform actors into characters and not just a hero.
And there is the truck, an old Chrysler driven through a very barren dessert with the sound of guitar in the background. It stays with the story, the journey. A truck that making its last journey and driven by a protagonist who is making his first.
The visuals are stunning and looking from the 4th row in the theatres, it looks like 3D. I guess the cheapest way to make 3D; a moving camera and seats very close to the screen.
Dev Benegal, nephew of Shyam Benegal writes and directs this one. The characters are wild and more human which means more prone to being quite real in life.
At the end of the movie, R,M is a journey to be experienced and not watched. Someday sit all by yourself and watch the movie and think what really the insane dialog really mean? But for now, it tires me!