Film: Detective Naani
Cast: Ava Mukherjee, Zain Khan
Direction: Romilla Mukherjee
English language may not differentiate between grandmothers but Indian languages do. For we know there is something that sets a naani apart from a daadi.
The liberties that we could take with our naani, we could never imagine our daadi to give us that much autonomy! One might be wrong, but the word naani itself has a ring of smartness around it.
Here is one such super-active naani, who reads English newspapers, baby sits her grandchildren and takes the dog to the park.
Nothing so unusual! Things take a turn when she sees a tense child peeping out of the window of a neighbourhood house. Next night she hears a sound and then sees a dead body. The old lady shares her apprehension with the neighbours but nobody takes her seriously.
She goes to the police but they also give her a cold shoulder. Ultimately she finds support in her grandchildren, some teenage neighbours and an old friend whose binoculars come handy.
With their help she sets out on her own investigation in such a meticulous manner that even the police get shocked. The inspector who was showing interest in the case just because of her divorced daughter now seriously picks the threads that naani has discovered. It turns out to be a racket where kids are kidnapped and sold to the foreigners.
Director Romilla Mukherjee’s film lacks finesse and loses focus when a teenage love story begins to disrupt the main plot but overall her script has enough twists and turns to hold the kids’ interest.
You want to know how the clever naani hoodwinks the hardcore gangsters and the message that if you keep your eyes closed to what is happening in your neighbourhood, the next number could be yours does ring a bell. Romilla’s performers are competent, particularly Ava Mukherjee, a common face in advertisements, as naani and Zain Khan as her enterprising grandson.
Keep the expectations low and provide the kids an entertaining break they demand almost every other day during holidays!