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A tale inside a tale
Nov 19, 2008 05:36 PM 2295 Views
(Updated Nov 19, 2008 08:06 PM)





The star cast of  Welcome to Sajjanpurmight not

at first give the star crazy movie viewers an urge to watch it in their first

thought but considering the name Shyam Benegal, remembering the brilliant

performance of Shreyas Talpade in Iqbal and coming across the name

Amrita Rao may give  rise to a second thought .And if they really watch

they  sure would not be disappointed. A good story nicely told and a good

performance to make the story more remarkable.

The story is set in an under developed village named

Sajjanpur , which has a short story on it's name which has been changed from

Durjanpur to Sajjanpur , where people live a very humble life accommodating

themselves with the scarcity of water, panchyati raj, illiteracy, superstition

and living life without ambition. Our main character Mahadev seems to be the

only graduate, and an aspiring novel writer, in the village. He has a very

unusual profession of writing letter for the illiterate villagers and charges

them Rs.2 for the same. The director's choice of the lead character's

profession is a deliberate act. People in the village and people from nearby

villages are somehow connected to Mahadev for the purpose of writing their

letters and we get a glimpse of the village life, the people, their way of

living and the fear the villagers suffer due to bhai raj.

The story has several sub plots each holding up a social

issue though very delicately not announcing a judgement.

The life in the village is such that Mahadev does not get

any plot to write something unique. An election is about to take place and

hence there is a spurge of life. The first letter that Mahadev has to write

with the beginning of the cinema is for the heavy weight contestant Ram.... The

scrupulous Ram orders Mahadev to write a letter to the Collector to cancel the

candidature of his close contestant with the charge that her husband is an ISI

agent.  And the story rolls thereafter.

The contestant withdraws her candidature but a new drama begins. A new

contestant arises Munnibai, an illiterate eunuch, and urges Mahadev to write a

letter to the Collector informing him about her candidature. She does not want

the murderer Bhabi , the other heavyweight contestant, to win without a fight.

The drama rises. She is threatened of dire consequences if she dares to contest

in the election and she justifies her candidature with a heart rendering urge

to Mahadev to write a letter to the Collector asking for protection. The performance of Munnibai will be remembered long but I must confess that I could not identify the actor.

There are other stories also. A young married village woman

(Amrita Rao) comes to Mahadev to write a letter to her husband living in Mumbai

asking him to come and take her with him. The woman recognizes Mahadev to be

her classmate in the primary school. Mahadev too recognizes her and starts

flirting with a distant hope to be able to convince her to marry him. Kamala’s,

the married women, husband  hasn’t come

for a visit for four long years and hence Mahadev snatches the chance to

convince her that he might have some mysterious reasons for not coming to meet

her newly married wife and poses himself as her well-wisher. He forces Kamala

to ask her husband to take her by Diwali and arrange an accommodation there. A

letter thereafter arrives that he will be taking her soon as he has managed to

buy an accommodation and it is revealed later that he has managed so buy

arranging to sell off his kidney. The game has gone too far. Mahadev realizes

his folly is going to take a life of a person and he sells off his land and

pays his penance .

A parallel story runs of Ila Arun and her daughter Divya.

She comes to Mahadev to help her write a letter to her in-laws about the

prediction of marrying her daughter Divya to a dog to wash away all the misfortunes

she is born with and asks them to arrange a sum of Rs. 5000 for the purpose.

Her independent daughter fights back against her intolerable superstitious

mother and there flows some hilarious incidents. Ila Arun is at her best. Her

mind blowing performance will really be appreciated by movie lovers. And so is

Divya Dutt.

There is yet another love story of Rajeshwari , the widow,

and the compounder (Ravi Kishen) upholding another social issue that still

remains unresolved.

The election is now at its end and surprisingly Munnibai   wins.

There  is more but let that side of the

tale remain untold.

Ashok Mishra’s lyrics and Shantanu Moitra’s composition have

combined to produce some beautiful songs well integrated with the plot.

And to conclude a must watch movie that can only be enjoyed

watching rather than reading reviews.

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Welcome To Sajjanpur