Rajasthan is among the most regal of our states when it comes to a larger than life heritage. And often, our films have projected the regal beauty of the land through its sand dunes, forts & palaces. Rajasthan also ranks very high on the rich-poor divide, being home to one of the premier business communities of the country and at the same time, cradling thousands who can only dream about some basic necessities of life, including the barest basic – water. This side of Rajasthan, has so far been captured in very few films and it was high time it got its due. Dev Benegal’s Road, Movie promised to fill just that void.
The cast of the film was talented but prone to overkill. And the director’s previous outings weren’t very inspiring. However, Road, Movie came with multiple laurels garnered across various film festivals sitting pretty in its lap. And in Abhay Deol, it featured the current poster-boy of offbeat Bollywood as a lead. Most importantly, it was a film that was strong in terms of subject. These factors are enough for one to ignore the negatives and look forward to an entertaining film with a strong subtext. But Road, Movie was the biggest disappointment of the year, so far.
Vishnu (Abhay Deol) is least interested in inheriting his father’s hair oil business, which daddy dear is hell bent on thrusting upon him. He goes AWOL, taking up the assignment of driving an antique truck that houses a mobile projector and loads of reels across the Great Indian Desert. It doesn’t take long for Benegal to establish the character of his protagonist, a dude who lacks compassion, empathy, a backbone…you get the drift. En route, he picks up an assortment of oddities from the remote desert. A smart alec urchin straight out of a Bombay slum; a Dr.Know It All who loves his marijuana and a temptress banjaran in search of water. They encounter another assortment of oddities, solemn queues of women searching for water; a psychopathic cop and a hopelessly naïve water mafia don. That makes up Road for you.
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