Friday, May 14, 2010

Bumm Bumm Bole

Little goody two-shoes

Director: Priyadarshan
Starring: Darsheel Safary, Ziyah Vastani, Atul Kulkarni, Rituparna Sen Gupta
Showing at: Citypride, E-Square, Mangala, Inox
Rating: ***

If you haven't seen Majid Majidi's Children Of Heaven, the celebrated Iranian film of which Bumm Bumm Bole is a scene-to-scene desi adaptation, chances are that you will enjoy this effort from Priyadarshan. There is enough simplicity and warmth to the story that both children and adults will find endearing. On the other hand, those who have already seen Majidi's film may find some of the additions distracting and unnecessary. Yet, two things the film achieves. It does not embarrass itself in any way, and after Taare Zameen Par, this is a fairly good, if not excellent follow up to the criminally ignored genre of childrens' films.

Bumm Bumm Bole is about a poor family living in the ULFA-infested terrain of Assam. The father (Atul Kulkarni) is struggling to make ends meet and often keeps losing his job. Their mother (Rituparna)is busy either with household chores and calming down her angry husband who cureses the world for all their troubles. Life is not easy for their two children either, but when Pinaki (Darsheel Safary) accidentally loses his sister Rim Jim's (Ziyah Vastani) sandals, it causes nothing short of an upheaval in their little world. Pinaki is scared to tell his father and knows they the family can't cannot afford a new pair anyway. So both decide to use the one pair of shoes they have. Rim Jim uses it for school in the morning and then hurriedly hands it over to her brother who needs it in the afternoon. The rest of the story is about how they pull this off, even as they try their best to get a new pair of shoes.

The parts between Darsheel and Ziyah are beautifully handled and both child actors are utterly delightful to watch. It's wonderful how Priyan has managed to extract such natural performances from them. Never do you see them over-acting. While Darsheel conveys a great deal with his eyes, Ziyah is cuteness personified. Bumm Bumm Bole is worth a watch just to see their performances.

The film is not without some problems though. Priyan has set the story in North-East, justifiably to create a certain 'alien' mood and ambiance that will do justice to a script adapted from an Iranian film. But the film has been shot in Tamil Nadu, Ooty and while the film has beautiful postcard-like visuals, it takes away from the authenticity of the setting. It's not enough to show tea plantations and a few people from the North-East. One of the reasons why the Iranian film experience is so valuable is because it gives you a real and simmering sense of a difficult, strife-torn place. Here, the director uses the terrorist-ridden backdrop for dramatic effect, but without authentic setting, the impact is greatly reduced. This has been a problem with both Priyadarshan and Mani Ratnam, who keep trying to pass off a South Indian topography for North India! It most decidedly kills some of the film's essence.

Yet, this may not ruin your experience of the film. Children will still enjoy it and be delighted with Darsheel and Ziyah's act. There are enough positives in the film. For one, it wonderfully conveys the disparity in living standards that children are unfairly faced with. It's heart- breaking to see Darsheel's expression when he sees a dozen sparking shoes arranged in an effluent home, while he can't get a single pair for his sister. There is a message in it for our over-pampered city kids who get everything on a platter.

Priyan may not have filled Majidi's shoes, but this certainly doesn't pinch.

-Sandhya Iyer


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