I adore independent films, and had all the reason to be excited about this crowd-sourced drama. But, it is made on such a childish note that it looks like a mess.
Diya (Saara Nahar) and Prakhar (Prakhar Morchhale) are two school- going siblings born to irritable parents in the city of Mumbai. Their mother is one careless and dominating personality who won't let her husband's mother come and live with them. Tired of the eternal wait to meet their grandmother who lives in Goa, the duo set out one day, unprepared and impromptu, with the hope of spending time with their granny who would make sweets for them.
What is a very novel approach to showcase the ridiculous lifestyle decisions we make involving our family members, the film uses subtlety as its biggest power. There is enough material for one to ponder about life's tragedies and especially about their grandmothers, but there is not one remarkable moment in the film. Except for the lady who plays the granny, none of the cast perform well. It was very clear that they were following the previously-read script without any practice or imagination. Director Praveen Morchhale manages to write some good points, but his shoddy direction spoils the broth. Despite the actors' poor performance, the photography could have saved the film, but thank the cash-strapped production which provides zero cinematic support to the feature.
Except the music and a reminder that we should always care for our parents and grandparents, there is no one thing special about this film. And please note that the film's distribution was crowd- sourced, not the actual film production. Further, Morchhale tries to cram too many topics into the 75- minute narrative. And, as a result, loses focus on the core subject, which is placed on the table with a cranky, kneejerker ending.
BOTTOM LINE: Praveen Morchhale's Barefoot to Goa has an interesting idea at its base, but is built with low quality materials and rusted equipment. Read the synopsis online and forever forget about the film.
Can be watched with a typical Indian family? YES
Barefoot to Goa, Praveen Morchhale’s debut film, conveys a beautiful as well as strong message which is indeed very relevant, soul-touching and also thought provoking. It has been already showcased in many international festivals all across the globe and gathered many accolades. For the first time ever, a film’s commercial release is funded by 238 Proud Funders from 15 countries. After watching the movie, I did feel that, isn’t it the story of almost every household today. Yes, Praveen touches a contemporary social issue. Parents do every bit to make their children self-reliant, independent, and educated. The same children, after growing up, move to different cities, countries for better career prospects. This is inevitable. But what is saddening is that aging parents are abandoned in some distant land and absolutely forgotten in the mad race of earning livelihood or living one’s own life. They have become a liability. The relationships are not valued, turning out to be merely a ritual. Today, when a person thinks about his or her family, it is limited to his / her spouse, and children i.e. the immediate family. What about the aging parents, who don’t feature in the list, and are left to fight their own battle that too at the fag end of their lives. Relationships have taken a beating in this fast paced society. We don’t spend quality time with our loved ones. Children don’t get to experience the ‘story-telling grandmother’ in person. There is a strong need for privacy. But isn’t it ironical that one’s privacy is assumed to be at stake due to one’s own parents. Kudos to Praveen and his team, the theme has been handled with considerable sensitivity. No over-the-top dialogues, no melodrama, rather, silence is used to convey a strong message. Barefoot to Goa does explore the nuances of human values and relationships, and also it questions the innocence we overlook.
The Storyline: The movie begins at Goa where Dadi (Farrukh Jaffar) is going to a typist to get a letter hand-written for her son and his family. Legendry singer Yesudas’ song ‘Naina do Pyare…” (his return to Bollywood singing after two decades) adds so much meaning to these frames. It conveys so beautifully the whole soul of the movie. The emotions on typist’s face are captured so beautifully when he reads out the letter to Dadi. In spite of not getting responses from her son and family, Dadi is regularly sending them letters and some gifts viz. Laddu, Lattu (spinning top or wooden spinner) etc.
These letters though get delivered at her son’s place in Mumbai, but neither reaches her son or grandchildren. Purva Parag (Mother) dumps the sweets into the waste basket and hides the letters from husband (Kuldeep Dubey) as well as children. But, one day, when grand children Diya (Saara Nahar) and Prakhar (Prakhar Morchhale) coincidently find these letters from grandmother, that is where their journey Barefoot to Goa begins to bring their ailing grandmother (suffering from cancer) to Mumbai.