Film: Road, Movie

Director: Dev Benegal

Cast: Abhay Deol, Tannishtha Chatterjee, Satish Kaushik

Yes, Dev Benegal is back and so are his quirks, which make his cinema whimsical but original, a difficult quality to rear these days. Here he blends the temptation of the road with the driving force that cinema is in this country.

Vishnu (Abhay Deol) doesn't find his father's oil business heady enough and at the first opportunity sets out to drive a battered truck unaware that it was once a travelling cinema.

Along the way he picks up a street smart boy from a dhaba and when the truck breaks down, the boy finds a wandering technician Chacha (Satish Kaushik), who wants to be dropped at a mela, which remains a sort of oasis.

They encounter a corrupt cop, who after discovering the cinematic truth demands a movie screening.

Chacha makes “Deewar” bounce on the walls of a dilapidated police station in the middle of the desert. Pure delight!

This is just the beginning. As Dev pans at the hypnotic terrain of Rajasthan and Kutch, you are sucked into the narrative played on a breathtaking yet brutal landscape. Parched, the trio comes across a gypsy girl (Tannishtha Chatterjee), who satiates Vishnu's thirst in more ways than one.

Together they take on the water mafia in the desert! Like the truck, the movie moves in erratic patterns and can never gather pace.

Abhay as the selfish Vishnu submerges himself in the unassuming flow of the film. So does Tannishtha. But it is Kaushik and the young Faisal Usmani, who stay with you even when “Sar Jo Tera Chakraye” casts its spell as the end credits roll.

A.K.