Bollywood and culture in an emerging India
Shyam Benegal’s last two films have had similar themes — humour coupled with a social message (actually lots of social messages). The last one “Welcome to Sajjanpur” was a delightful watch, with neither the humour nor the social message getting too overpowering.
But in his latest film “Well Done Abba”, Benegal doesn’t quite manage to recreate the same magic, cramming in too many messages, because of which the humour accompanying it spreads out too thin.
Boman Irani plays Armaan Ali, an amiable, simple man from a small town in Andhra Pradesh, who works as a driver in Mumbai. On a visit back home, he chances upon a government scheme which encourages those below the poverty line to dig a well and get paid for it.
Since he also needs money to marry off his daughter Muskaan (Minissha Lamba), he applies for the scheme.
When 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.