22 Apr 2016 ● Hindi ● 1 hr 40 mins
While big production houses sign A list actors and spend crores on publicity so that half the battle is won even before the end product sees the light of the day, the “lesser privileged” ones, rely on jaded yet “foot tapping chartbusters” and/or oodles of skin show to grab an audience. In either case quality clearly seems to have taken the backseat. Box office figures are inflated, and thanks to paid media, even movies with shoddy production values manage to perform profitably. The script or the content is rather reduced to a joke and to a significant extent we are the only ones to blame. However movies like Nil Battey Sannata prove that there is still some light at the end of the tunnel.
Directed by debutante Ashwini Iyer Tiwari , the film focusses on a mother – daughter relationship in the most endearing manner. Chanda (an absolutely outstanding Swara Bhasker), in addition to being a maid in a doctor’s household nurses big dreams for her carefree daughter Apeksha, also fondly addressed as Appu (a brilliant performance by newcomer Pia Shukla). While the mother has also taken up several other low paying jobs to fund her daughter’s education, Apeksha whiles away her time completely ignorant of the struggles her nagging mother has to face in bringing her up. The last straw is when Apu tells her that education is not going to get her anywhere as “doctor ka beta doctor” “engineer ka beta engineer” “toh bai ki beti bai hi hogi”. With even coaching centres not affordable, her doctor mistress asks her to join Appu’s school as a student to keep a close watch on her daughter and also educate her. Though, initially taken aback, she finally agrees and is enrolled as a new entrant in her daughter’s class. And to add to the chaos, Mathematics, which is a nemesis to both the mother and the daughter. However a determined Chanda picks up the subject well and when confronted by Appu on such a drastic move, throws a challenge to her daughter to beat her in Maths following which she would stop coming to school.
What makes this movie a visual delight are the performances of Swara Bhasker and Pia Shukla. Not to forget Pankaj Mishra’s hilarious performance as the school principal who is also the Mathematics professor. He is a complete revelation and brings the house down with his antics. I am sure most of us had a cranky teacher like him during our school days. Though there is a fair amount of predictability in the 2nd half, the film manages to keep you hooked right from the word go.
“It is so simple to be happy but so difficult to be simple “. Nil Battey Sannata holds testimony to the fact that these golden words uttered from Rajesh Khanna’s mouth in the Hrishikesh Mukherjee classic, Bawarchee are relevant even to this day. With a simple, yet an engaging plot, this movie made on a shoestring budget deserves both audience and accolades... Way to go Ashwini Iyer Tiwari!!!!!
My earnest appeal to the movie goers to give flicks like these the acceptance they truly deserve!!!!