Film: The Blue Umbrella
Director: Vishal Bharadwaj
Cast: Pankaj Kapur, Shriya
Reading a book is certainly way different from seeing the moving picture, simply because the mind is allowed to wander freely and interpret the written word. On the other hand in a film the written word is expressed and drags you along a path the director has for you to see. An easier way to put it is that Ruskin Bondâ€™s short story, Biniyaâ€™s blue umbrella is the film in the written form.
The film like the book follows Binya (Shriya), a decorous girl surrounded by the lush green hills of Himachal Pradesh. In the village she sings, rears her sheep and plays, this while Khatri (Pankaj Kapur) a grumpy old man fleeces foreigners selling tea and biscuits to them.
On a beautifully grey day Biniya discovers a bright blue parasol. Fascinated by it she celebrates her joy by running around the village and soon her bright blue umbrella is the envied by many, more importantly Khatri.
Even before she has had her share of hogging the limelight with the umbrella it goes missing and the first on the blame sheet is Khatri. What trails is the search for the umbrella crook and the discovery of a forgiving relationship.
With a bag full of films releasing week after week, our senses are accustomed to seeing the loud and shunning the soft. This film thus fails to fit that bracket and comes across as one with an inconsequential and futile plot about some girlâ€™s umbrella that goes missing and eventually gets found. But the fact of the matter is that the simplicity of the plot and the idea behind it is in a sense unique and interesting. The underlining lesson or moral is the verity that obsessive desires direct the way to chastisement and after long has a film actually imparted a sane moral.
The film is slow paced and this is a major problem. Everything moves so slowly that often the film seems stationary; topping that is the simplicity in the plot which is of no great help either. So with the pace being slow, a unique and novel experience is turned into a mundane one.
In a way indulgence fills the film, everything is worked upon as though to prove a point and satisfy the creative hunger burning within. The camerawork and cinematography see saws between good and average. While the unconventional and exploratory movements have been shot well and look beautiful the conventional ones are passable. The Digital enhancement of the scenes offers rich textures and vivid colours, but this too is inconsistent. A thing to watch out for is the manner in which the camera is used as an eye for objects like the â€˜Dolkiâ€™, a Snake and the umbrella.
Crisper editing could have very well have rendered the film with speed, but sadly nothing. The dialogues are well written and simple, almost like a day to day conversation. Having said that one is unsure if it is worth it to pay a handsome price to see characters discuss routine topics, which otherwise is attained by us for no cost at all.
On an experimental front the film scores brilliantly, but it is in proving to make a mark commercially that the film takes a beating. Itâ€™s an English short story translated to make a feature Hindi film that too with song and glee thrown in; thus this hodgepodge leaves you confused on what the entire point is.
An actor like Pankaj Kapur is wasted simply because of the simplicity of his character. He does his part with such ease that seldom do you see him act, he is the character. Shriya is cute and bubbly, she emotes extremely well.
Watch the film merely to see simplicity running through each scene, this one is no great flick. Grab the book and sip over a cuppa coffee reading it (chances are the book will finish faster than the book).