India Masala

Bollywood and culture in an emerging India

Welcome to Sajjanpur — a welcome change

September 20, 2008

sajjanpur.jpgWhen you are living away from home and surviving on bad restaurant food, it takes a day or two to get used to meals cooked by your mother once again, in my experience. Your palate has been abused so much by all the impersonal dishes you have been served that good, wholesome food takes a while to digest.

Shyam Benegal’s “Welcome to Sajjanpur” is that wholesome fare that has been missing from your palate.

The film has no foreign locales, no scantily clad heroines and no dynamic heroes. It takes some getting used to, given the kind of films one is subjected to frequently. But once you do get into the groove, it’s an enjoyable ride.

Mahadev, the protagonist of the film, lives in Sajjanpur (a village in north India) and is one of its few literate residents. Unable to find any gainful employment in the city, he returns home and takes on the job of writing letters for the village folk.

From love letters to threatening ones, he pens them all for the villagers and thus becomes privy to their deepest secrets. Amrita Rao plays Kamala, Mahadev’s secret crush who comes to him for solace as she waits for her husband to return from the city. Mahadev, blinded by love, tries to manipulate her marriage through his letters, thereby allowing Benegal to show us that his hero does have some flaws.

Whether it is the rough politician, or the harassed mother worried about her daughter’s marriage (Ila Arun, in a brilliant cameo), or the worried wife waiting for her husband’s return, all the characters are presented with some nuance and their idiosyncrasies bring a smile to your face.

Yet, Benegal also makes some pertinent points on the burning issues of the day – be it criminalisation of politics, the migrant problem in cities, caste based killings or the big industrialisation debate. There is no heavy-handed preaching though, it is all done with a smile on the face, which is what makes it endearing.

Don’t expect a dedicated storyline, because this is more of stringing together of many sub plots. One film that comes to mind is the Marathi language “Valu”, which also showcases rural life in pretty much the same light-hearted way that “Sajjanpur” does.

The film works partly because of the brilliant cast, led by Shreyas Talpade. It’s difficult to say which is his better performance – “Sajjapur” or “Iqbal”. Amrita Rao is demure and animated, and does a good job. And so does Yashpal Sharma as the thug politician. Watch it, you might be surprised.

   

Comments

The film brings a whip of fresh air. A air that is loaded with the real essence that come out of the earth and not from some industrial unit. And one should not forget that its a creation of master strory teller shyam benegal.

Posted by prakash jha | Report as abusive
 

WOW!! Wherever you live, you will be brought back to your home by such an abosulute peice of brilliant work. It felt like “home-coming” to me after watching this movie. Thank you Shyam Benegal.

Posted by Kanish | Report as abusive
 

beautiful review …
i have watched the movie, and it’s real good.

Posted by Suniti | Report as abusive
 

Shyam Benegal’s “Welcome to Sajjanpur” is a complete entertainment.

Posted by raju yadav | Report as abusive
 

WTS

IS WORTH TRIP.

 

it is very nice movie, shreyas and amrita splendid.

Posted by navnit | Report as abusive
 

Good comedy contains, thrills, suspence, drama, imptions,
but some dialouge cant see with children

Posted by Umesh Chandra Gupta | Report as abusive
 

after a long period of time some one had made such anice movie.

Posted by ritesh shrivastava | Report as abusive
 

ending of two lovers[componder&widow] was not appriciable.

Posted by resham | Report as abusive
 

Classic. Gem of a movie. One of the best movies made in 2008.

 

This movie carries a straight-out-of-an-Indian-heart vibe! R. K. Narayananesque all the way through! Highly recommended for everyone from 6 to 60!

Posted by Antriksh | Report as abusive
 

very well done, very detailed work, it’s like reading Munshi Prem Chand again, Thank you very much Mr. Benegal

Posted by RAKESH | Report as abusive
 

A very good and, at the same time, a very entertaining movie. Must see for all.Some youngsters may be put off even before seeing the movie because of non-star cast and a village background of the story.They will be pleasantly surprised if they are persuaded to watch the movie.It is here that the role of reviews and recommendation through word of mouth is important to make the movie a greater commercial success.The movie is a welcome relief from Masala movies and their cliched dialogues.

Posted by Arvind | Report as abusive
 

Amrita Rao did a good job, She play’s the charater of a typical village women (same as in MP). I like the way they implements the village secenarion, It reminds me of my day’s in sagar (M.P.). Good work done. Everything was fine apart from the language, the language used in movie was not bundelkhand (desi). All the characters used the U.P. language. They should know the difference between the languages in MP and UP. Big Differece ….. Apart from that everything is good ….
BRAVO

Posted by Naveen | Report as abusive
 

It was a superb movie with tight script covering many issues. I was indeed surprised that not many liked it. I guess those are the people who have moved very far from the essence of India which is there in our villages. It was good to see how Benegal, which is his style, has again covered social issues so well that not even for a second you feel bored. The movie could have easily managed five stars, I feel, if one or two songs could have been removed. Also I felt Shreyas was still better in Iqbal then this movie. Ila, and Yashpal were great.

 

How I wish we could see it here. It sounds lovely! Just about the only way I can see movies from India is via Youtube, sadly. Well, things may improve yet…I can always hope.

Maria
Clearwater, Florida USA

Posted by Maria | Report as abusive
 

Shayam Benegal should be appreciated for making such a wonderful movie. All were good in acting but shreyas as main protagonist and Ravijakkhal in the role of eunuch were brillant. we need such type of cinemaon regula basis.

Posted by Umesh Baurai | Report as abusive
 

it was truly a fantastic film.. very subtle in everythuing.. it was the ‘dal chawal’.. which never goes out of the desi palate… our very own comfort food.. will not be able to watch a masala film in a long time now.

 

So much of praise!? i will definitley go and watch this movie

Posted by Sandy | Report as abusive
 

Heyy I just watched it yesterday and was floored, so earthy so true so real and with so much of rural India soul, and quiet funny..good watch

Posted by ONP | Report as abusive
 

A classic movie, indded.

Posted by Priyam | Report as abusive
 

This is one of the best films to come out of India in some time. It was a breathe of fresh air – and took my breathe away at the same time. TWO THUMBS WAYYY UP! Don’t miss it.

Posted by Adnan Hossain | Report as abusive
 

This movie moved me. Ila Arun was outstanding.

Posted by Deepanjan | Report as abusive
 

A brilliant film – one in the class of Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron and Angoor and the likes. So much fun. BRILLIANT – SIMPLY BRILLIANT, all the casts including the protagonists are good – but I liked the Snake Charmer, and the way he gives out the “manly” medicines to Mahadev..Man – I am going to watch it again tonight….

Posted by Vikram | Report as abusive
 

Its really a great movie.Thanx to the director and all the casts. Its supervvv…

Posted by Tanveer | Report as abusive
 

I just love it

Posted by Tanveer | Report as abusive
 

nice very nice movie..just watched it yesterday.think its simplicity n innocence was the x factor.really awsome.all characters excelled in their roles.hats off to shreyas.thumbs up!!!!

 

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