Jal (2014)

The promos of this film showed the sweeping landscapes of the Kutch desert and ‘beautifully shot’ was a unanimous opinion before we entered the cinema. What remained to be seen was the story and its execution.

The plot was simple, real and rural. It does not come close to anything contemporary. If you can appreciate it for what it is, a tale of villagers shot for the multiplex audience, then you will like the film. The cinematography did not let my attention waver, as there were ample doses of drama interspersed with gorgeous natural scenes and time lapses.

Purab Kohli shines in a difficult role, playing a spectrum of emotions with ease. The director, Girish Malik, has put together a great cast who does their part well, but he doesn’t develop any one character in detail, giving them a ‘caricature like’ feel. They say their stories whilst making ‘jal/water’ the prime focus of survival in the desert.

The two leading ladies Tannishtha Chatterjee and Kirti Kulhari deserve special mention for their appropriate restrain and abandon when required. Overall, the language and diction could have been perfected and subtitles were definitely needed. It ties up well in the end, but could have been shorter. The background score is effective as is the track ‘jal de’.

It seemed like a film which should be edited for IMAX viewing, a short 60 minute feature where people can gasp in awe at one of the many untapped beauties of India.

2/5

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