Imagine a man who says he believes in things only if he had seen them through his own eyes?
Would you consider him insane? Or, you would try watching the world through his eyes slowly believing in his ideas and beliefs? I have seen Ankhon Dekhi with my ‘own eyes’ and I can assure you that it’s a brilliant little gem.
Rajat Kapoor’s beautifully written and directed film is about this eccentric man who belongs to a lower middle class family. He lives in a small house in Delhi along with his wife, kids and his brothers family. His house has a ‘chhatt’, tiny rooms adjacent to each other, a small kitchen, and a common toilet. The family is joint in more ways than one, which is evident right from the first scene when his daughter Rita is found to be in a relationship with an allegedly ‘not-so-decent’ boy, and all hell breaks loose.
The story is about this father (Bauji) who finds himself in a sorry state when he believes in the opinion of people about this boy. He then strangely decides not to take things for granted and not to agree on things he has not seen with his own eyes. He then strongly starts seeing, living and tasting things on his own wishes. He changes his strategy about life, which obviously finds him midst long lectures and taunts about him being a person who has lost his mind.
Kapoor’s film is an absolute delight to watch. Not only does it entertain you, it makes you laugh, smile and feel for the amazing characters. It’s his talent to make such a character who could have easily come out as a complete moron but thankfully doesn’t. He is successful in creating a character who is in the vital process of sloughing off dead layers, and discovering his skin.
Like any other Rajat Kapoor movie the film gives you so much in it’s little moments, like for example there is a boy in the film who just can’t stop talking. He stops after a long wait and Mr. Kapoor makes us savour that moment with complete silence making you feel like a school boy who has just been fed with the best chapter of his life.
The amazing locals of the Delhi 6 area have been depicted with great care and flare. Kapoor is also one of the few Indian directors who can get away being whimsy: it is in every frame, but never overdone, making this a film rich in what appears to be small but are actually significant pleasures of ideas and norms.
Sanjay Mishra is the heart, soul and life of this small little sunshine of hope. He is plausibly at his effin’ best. He gets into the skin of the character and makes you believe in him pretty much like every other smaller character who at first made fun of him but later becomes his worshiper! Everyone else pitches in terrific performances one after the other. Be it the Bauji’s life-long companion who shouts and howls at him but secretly loves him for what he is, or be it Rajat Kapoor himself who plays a brother who hid himself after beating his son for failing a maths exam. The other usual people who can be seen in any Rajat Kapoor production do a commendable job as the yaar-dost and company.
Final Verdict: Ankhon dekhi very beautifully paints a stark but vivid portrait of the search for meaning and truth in our lives, with an ending that will haunt you of your existence for a long time. This is Indian cinema at it’s very best. Drop down everything and give this movie the share of your love it deserves.
MUST WATCH. Rating: 4.5/5