Village Rockstars Movie Review: Beautiful, Personal and Charming
Village Rockstars, India's official entry to the Oscars this year, is amazingly simple and simply amazing.
A still from Village Rockstars.
Cast: Bhanita Das, Basanti Das
Director: Rima Das
Village Rockstars will charm you with its simplicity and aspirational attitude. Rima Das’ National Award winning film and now India’s official entry to the Oscars, it will make you realise how mainstream filmmaking has effectively tampered with our understanding of the visual medium in recent years. It has no flying chopper shots or tracking in from a long distance. But even its simplest shots are so effective that they will instantly transport you to Rima's world.
Village Rocktars is about what we have left behind and don’t want to recall, but it’s also the only thing you want to go back to. It resonates the emotions that were buried under many layers inside your heart. Now the desire to go back to your roots has been fanned and all you could do is to blame yourself for falling in love with Dhunu’s (Bhanita Das) world of scarce resources and unbound jest for life
Dhunu and her mother (Basanti Das) are so natural that one could wonder if they really know that they are filmed. They, along with Dhunu’s brother, are sailing through life with the help of a thin string of hope. They don’t have anybody except each other. Even while writing this review, I am wondering whether I should treat Village Rockstars as a thought-out story or fly on the wall narration. It’s hard to believe Dhunu and her folks are actors who are playing along on a director’s tune.
They, along with Dhunu’s brother, are sailing through life without much support. They don’t have anybody except each other. With every scene, the film aggravated my sense of being away from familiar surroundings, and yet my own village isn’t much different at all from this Assamese village. Dhunu and her mother’s struggles are the harsh realities of life but there is also a quest in it.
Village Rockstars will make you realise that what you left behind a long time ago was much more than just a life of insufficiency and want. It’s the story of a single mother’s steely resolution to give her daughter the best she can. Capturing the essence of rural India, it beautifully shows how limited or no resources can’t stop young feet from marching forward. They will eventually find their way.
When Dhunu quotes lines similar to The Secret, you smile but you also want her wish to come true. Denying her would mean denying yourself a happier life. You’ll also find local Assamese culture weaved in between. All this is so fascinating that you may lose the count of time. It’s a little girl’s ways of tackling hardships that act as life lessons for us adults.
Rima Das, take a bow, for you have made something that’s much more than just a film. Village Rockstars may not make you sob but it’ll make you bleed inside. You can take my words for it. Because the film has received a limited release, you must watch it to keep Dhunu and Rima’s journey of a lifetime going.
Interact with Rohit Vats at Twitter/@nawabjha
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