Cast: Deepak Dobriyal, Manav Kaul
Director: Bela Negi
Deepak Dobriyal, the abundantly talented actor from "Omkara", takes the lead in "Daayen Ya Baayen", a charming-but-confused film about a young man who returns to his village in Uttarakhand after a failed attempt to make it in Mumbai.
A respectable first film by Bela Negi, you may not be disappointed if you have an appetite for the quirky and the unusual.
The locals in his idyllic mountain town of Kaanda are amused when Ramesh Majila (played by Dobriyal) announces that he wants to set up a Performing Arts Centre for talented youth. His new job as a teacher in the local school pays little, and getting the attention of the Chief Minister who must approve the Centre and allot a grant for it is a Herculean task. When Ramesh wins a swanky car in a television jingle-writing contest, his stock rises considerably among his envious neighbours. But it also brings with it a series of complications, which lead him to wonder if indeed his life was easier without the car.
Directed by debutant Bela Negi, "Daayen Ya Baayen" is gorgeously filmed across postcard-pretty locations in the state. Negi uses real homes and schools to give the film a lived-in feel, which is further complemented by the fact that she employs actual locals in smaller roles.
It's the scattered script that plays spoilsport here, taking too long to bring up key conflicts, and meandering in too many directions along the way. The arrival of Ramesh's car is the focal point in the story and drives much of the drama in the film; yet it shows up so late in the film. While the languid pace of the movie is understandable considering it mirrors the slow life of a lazy village, several scenes seem pointless and going nowhere in particular.
Yet "Daayen Ya Baayen" is a film you desperately want to like. Deepak Dobriyal is first-rate as the conflicted Ramesh, and Manav Kaul provides some light moments as Sundar, the slacker desperate to break out of town. The film also has many charming moments, especially between Ramesh and his little son. Yet in the end "Daayen Ya Baayen" feels like a string of great ideas in search of a coherent plot.
I'm going with two out of five for director Bela Negi's "Daayen Ya Baayen". It goes on and on and on with no destination in sight. It's tiring yes, but also a respectable first film. If you have an appetite for the quirky and unusual, you might not be too disappointed.
Winners: Varun Jain, Bangalore and Snehalata Panda, Bhubaneswar
What's your reaction to 'Daayen Ya Baayen'?