Are you a wanderlust?
Have you ever travelled in a bus buying a ticket upto the last destination, got down in between, had a cup of tea in a tavern, roamed in a village fare, got to know that the winter of your life is going to end very shortly from a parakeet-astrologer, returned home safely and slept inside your quilt with a vague smile on your lips?
If so, you would love this movie.
Dev Benegal, the nephew of Shyam Benegal, brought in a whiff of fresh air in the mid-90s with his path-breaking experimental cinema English August, based on Upamanyu Chatterjee's Kafkaesque take on Indian bureaucracy. It steered a different kind of experimental cinema by independant film makers starting from the late 90s and carrying it forward into this decade, resulting in brilliant films like Hyderabad Blues, Rockford, Fire, Life In a Metro, Bend It Like Beckham, Being Cyrus, Namesake, A Wednesday, Dev-D, Firaaq, et al. This is much more pragmatic than the parallel cinema movement which began with beautiful notes during the mid-1950s and ended way far too pretentiously during the late 1980s.
Dev Benegal's Road Movie is a creative blend of cinema reflecting upon aimless wandering on one side and a nostalgic hankering on the era of touring talkies on the other. It is an Indianised version of a dreamy fusion between two of the remarkably greatest films of 20th Century : Paris Texas by Wim Wenders (1984) and Nuovo Cinema Paradiso by Giuseppe Tornatore (1988). Does Dev succeed in this venture?
In Road Movie, the young protagonist Vishnu is disillusioned with his father's business of selling hair oil and gets a chance to travel to a distant unknown town in a 1940-s model Chevrolet truck. The god forsaken truck also has a dilapidated film projector along with rolls of old films. While travelling in the deserts of Jaisalmer and Kutch, he encounters a dhaba boy who is on the run for a better life, an interesting old mechanic who is in the eternal look out for a mela and a dusky gypsy girl in search of water - all of whom happen to travel together in the truck for sometime in their lives. The desert landscape, the search for water, the rustic cop, the ruffian chance upon their travel in their own ways. The fellow-travellers depart from each other and the memories of the journey lingers in the mind of Vishnu as he gets back home.
Movie Rating : 7 out of 10.