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Nil Battey Sannata - A Story of Coming-Age
Apr 23, 2016 12:41 PM 8528 Views





The movie’s title gets me ticking; have heard it number of times but nowadays it is rarely used. It’s one of those phrases that have been given a rest but still stir up a few memories for me. Nil, in hindi, means zero; Battey means division and Sannata means silence or zero. So zero divided by zero is Zero. Shoonya(in hindi).

This story is very different than usual movies that we come across every Friday. It is about Chanda(Swara Bhaskar) who works multiple jobs so that her daughter Apeksha(Ria Shukla) could study and doesn’t have to live the life which she has faced. Chanda wants big things for her daughter but Apu is happy being a back-bencher, has aversion to books and get bad marks. She couldn’t care less when being punished whether for being a poor student or coming late to school.

Chanda’s dreams come crashing down when Apu declares that she is happy to do what her mother does and become a “misrani”. When Chanda tells her story to one of her employers(Ratna Pathak Shah), who sees Chanda more than a house help; helps her create a situation where mother-daughter could study together, at school and home.

Chanda goes back to school wearing crisp blue-white uniform and becomes everybody’s favourite. Apu starts throwing tantrums, coaxes and cajoles her mother to should stop coming to school. To this Chanda, picks up the opportunity and throws an open challenge to Apu – To beat her at maths and she will drop out of school.

Also, the film has set in Agra but there’s no real need to see Taj Mahal in the background. It’s just like showing Red Fort and India Gate in a Delhi movie. But there are many sweet moments in the movie which makes you forgive all these trivial stuff. There’s interaction between school friends, the boy who really loves maths and teaches the mother-daughter duo how not to be scared of numbers.

Swara Bhaskar does an excellent job of annoyance, bafflement and plain wordless affection of a mother. Whereas Apu is rude, shows brazenness and like any student, needy and scrappy. But one who really adds spice to the whole story is the school principal played by Pankaj Tripathi who readily agrees to admit Chanda in Apu’s class(with menace in the eyes).

Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari’s ‘Nil Battey Sannata’ has a much stronger message about how education can change the path of one’s life journey.

Swara Bhaskar, Ria Shukla and Pankaj Tripathi have done a riveting performance which keeps everyone on edge of their seats. First half is promising but there is a drop in tempo through second half. It gets bit preachy and messagey, but Ashwiny managed to keep it short and adequate.

This movie will bring tears in your eyes but at the end leave you with a warm smile. A unique storyline that is much required in today’s time where there’s only masala-maarke movies. Definitely a must watch, maybe with your mother because it is relatable to all the mixed feelings she goes through.

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Nil Battey Sannata