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Times of India
A young Assamese couple - Rajib (Dr Palash Sen) and Ananya (Ira Dubey) revive their love and seek to rectify their fast-growing detachment from family, their cultural roots and nature.
Managing to find warmth in the fast-paced life of Mumbai is often a cumbersome feat. But, Aisa Yeh Jahaan presents you with the story of a young Assamese couple who overcome the perils of Mumbai's metropolitan culture and revives love, familial bond and companionship that was fast eroding from their lives. As the story shifts between its central characters Rajib and Ananya, they are depicted as young parents who are reeling under the staple pressures of raising a child in a big city and paying multiple loans to in order to support themselves too. Rajib has on his platter the pressing needs of his overambitious wife, whose materialistic demands are difficult for him to fulfill.
Director Biswajeet Bora's characters are largely uni-dimensional, restricting themselves to just being black and white. The film's narrative is inclined towards the beauty of India's villages and small towns, but takes up a cliched method of slamming big cities like Mumbai to establish this dichotomy. Thus, Bora's judgment of the small-town-versus-big-city view lacks balance and that comes through in the film.
The movie has its heartfelt peaks but suffers from inconsistent writing. It toys with too many ideas - there is the impact of modernization on families, the monetary compulsions on city parents, bias towards people from North-East India, parents pushing their young kids into glamour for big bucks and mostly the pivotal idea of loving nature. Despite so much heart in it, it's the lack of coherence that makes the film feel half-baked.
Both Palash and Ira play their characters to the tee, with utmost earnestness. The child artistes Prisha Dabas and Kymsleen Kholie play their parts wonderfully too. However, Bora's plot is weakly brewed, often sloppily written and mostly lacks impact. The film will touch you surely, but the overall effect doesn't suffice as anything much to write home about.
Carbon neutral, story negligible
This is India's first carbon neutral film. If you watch it, you'll wonder if the lack of carbon can be blamed for this celluloid disaster. Aisa Yeh Jahaan stands for grave urban issues: lack of green cover in metros, the Assamese being called Nepali, the homeless being reduced to hog on street food etc. But the audience will surely stand for a larger concern: to exit the screen and reach for a headache pill.
The film opens to a dark reality, almost like a Michael Moore docu, with the production values of a B-grade film. The screen opens to rapid flashes of homeless people, a girl on a highway clutching a potted plant, a labourer munching on a vada pav. And just when you feel you're in the wrong screen, a voiceover by Om Puri announces, "Yeh hain Mumbai." He throws in a million cliches that symbolise the maximum city, "sapno ka shehar," "sautela shehar" etc. Now you're certain that this is the wrong screen.
We're introduced to the girl with the potted plant, Pakhi (Kymsleen Kholie), a dreamer, free-spirit, imaginer of a better world and an underage domestic help at the middle-class suburban home of the Saikias, which includes Rajib (Palash Sen), his wife Ananya (Ira Dubey) and their toddler, Kuhi (Prisha Dabbas).
Ananya or Anu is ambitious which translates into her being a pathological liar (a receptionist, she constantly introduces herself as a project director). Rajib is a husband-next-door, happy in his middle-class existence, while Kuhi is too young to have an opinion or learn her mother tongue (something the film feels strongly about). A turning point in the film is when the Saikias visit Rajib's native land Golaghat and approximately 25 reasons why village life 'rules' over suffering in the big city surface. Stuff we won't get into for editorial sanity.
Some know Palash as Euphoria's frontman; others don't know him at all. Once a promising singer, the threefilm-old Sen would be a reason some would give this film a shot. If you're one of them, you should be warned that this film will do a Dhoom Pichak Dhoom of your fond memories of the band that made it big in the late '90s. Ira Dubey interprets her character as a woman who is neurotic, over-ambitious and can't speak in English (a laboured effort). To suggest that she needs to tone her upper body, she tells her gym instructor, "Please work hard on me from the top." The camera pans to her breasts at this point. Also her accent fluctuates with every dialogue: from Parsi to pathetic, she does them all. Yashpal Sharma playing the bizarrely enthusiastic village idiot, Nalia Kai, is insufferable and loud. And for a film that highlights the identity crisis suffered by North-Easterners, this film has Sharma wincing to pass for an Assamese. The music is not even worth mentioning and one of the tracks is curiously similar to Anyone else but you from Juno's soundtrack.
Carbon or without, this one is a must-ditch.
Palash Sen returns to movies after more than a decade.
This is Biswajeet's first film.
Biswajeet has worked under National Award winning filmmaker Jahnu Barua.
The team planted 480 plants in suburban Mumbai and signed MoU with Farmers and villagers who wont cut the trees they planted for next 15 days.
Aisa Yeh Jahaan is 2015's first Carbon Neutral Film.
The film has been shot in Mumbai, Assam and Meghalaya.
The film won an award at the International Film Awards For Environment, Health & Culture 2015.
The film is often shabbily cut and two scenes have no correlation. For instance, the starting scene in the gym was unnecessary.
The dream sequences of Pakhi's seem abrupt and don't add to the story.
Rajib and Ananya, are a young married couple who live in Mumbai. While Rajib works with a top MNC, Ananya is a receptionist at a big company in Mumbai. The two have a daughter named Ruhi and a housemaid named Pakhi, who lives with them. Rajib is a simple guy, close to his culture, miss his parents and his village. But life is different for Ananya who is dreamy and ambitious. She wants a big home and bigger car. Rajib and Ananya clash on their ideas a lot but eventually love binds them.
Pakhi is comfortable there and while Ananya does scold her often, Rajib's love makes up for it. In the end, Pakhi is family for them. Pakhi's father died early and Rajib's family cares for Pakhi's mother. Pakhi is Ruhi's sole companion.
At a party one day, a man insults Pakhi and a furious Rajib walks out from there, not before making it clear to his friend that Pakhi is from India and not a 'chinki'.
The family take a trip to Assam where Pakhi is reunited with her mother and the family meets Rajib's parents and Ruhi he grandparents. Ananya is against the idea of Ruhi learning Assamese but Rajib is all for learning more about your own culture. Ruhi befriends Rajib's childhood friend Nalia Kai in the village who tells her all about the value of greenery. The little Ruhi gets inclined towards learning about nature. Rajib and Nalia over a drinking session bond like old times. Rajib opens up about how life in city in draining him out. If it weren't for loans, he would have come back. Ananya grudges her husband and kid getting influenced by the idea of staying in the village. But they inevitably return to Mumbai. Pakhi though reluctant return to repay what Rajib's family is doing for her mother.
When Ruhi returns she is still influenced by her nature trip. She plants a mango tree in a pot in her verandah. Ruhi and Pakhi take care of it and name the plant Pom.
Ruhi is admitted into a big school and though they lie to the principal about Ananya's qualifications, it seems right to them. Ruhi starts attending school and forgets all about the plant she was raising like a baby. Pakhi notices the difference in little Ruhi's behavior whose interest was more on gadgets like computers and phones and less on the innocence with which she orchestrated games.
Ananya's brother Ron entered their lived at this cue. Ron suggests to Ananya that she can enroll Ruhi for modelling. They conduct a photo shoot and though Rajib is against it, Ananya still goes ahead with it. With her charming innocence Ruhi soon bags many ad campaigns and becomes a hot favourite with admakers. She gets chosen as the face for a government initiative commercial.
Obviously Ananya's expectations skyrocket with her daughter's success. She quits her job, books a car and become a full time manager for Ruhi. Her attitude is sharp but the commercial casting director takes her nevertheless. Rajib and Ananya fight on the day of her commercial shoot and order Pakhi to throw Pom away. As Pakhi leaves home to do that, she loses way. She lands up at the same studio where Ruhi was shooting. They use pom for the commercial that Ruhi was shooting for after which the plant is discarded. Pakhi plants the tree there. The attitude towards life changes for Ananya who then realizes that Ruhi must focus on studying. The family takes nature trips frequently and travel to their native place a lot more.