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The Bright Day (2015) DM - Mohan Agashe, Radhika Apte, Rajit Kapoor


Rating: 1.7/5 (49 votes cast)


ďThe Bright DayĒ (directed by Mohit Takalkar) is a beautiful but flawed film. Itís focused and lost at the same time.Yet somehow, I think thatís the point. Confused? So am I. Thatís the nature of the film. Itís not complicated or anything of that sort. It simply is an exploration ofÖexploration. image The movie won the Grand Jury Award at the South Asian Film Festival (SAIFF) this year and was also featured at the Toronto Film Festival (TIFF). The story is about a spoiled 23-year-old kid named Shiv who, after the first of several epiphanies, decides he is going to travel India to find himself. Itís a thought that gets in the head of many twenty-somethings who feel a little lost. The only difference here is the story is about a young Indian man instead of a foreigner. Takalkar, who also took home Best Director honors at SAIFF, said the idea for the movie came from his own decision (along with lead actor Sarang Sathaye) to travel India many years ago. He wanted to focus on how many young people in India itself fail to recognize the beauty of their own country. And the only way to really experience India is by doing something foreigners have been doing for a long time. Cameron Bailey, TIFF Director, wrote on that subject during the festival two months ago: For decades, backpack-toting youths from the West have travelled to India in search of escape and spiritual adventure. Eight years ago, first-time director Mohit Takalkar and his friend and future lead actor Sarang Sathaye set off on a journey across their own country with neither a schedule nor a fixed destination. Transforming this journey into his lyrical feature debut, Takalkar not only depicts a new generation of Indian youths in search of the same elusive purpose that drew so many foreigners to their land, but also speaks to a more personal kind of filmmaking that is taking root in Indiaís emerging indie scene. Itís an interesting jumping off point for a film. Itís apparent that Takalkar has a deep relationship with this story and he certainly wants the audience to get as close as possible to this connection. The camera work and cinematography is both personal and detailed as we get several closeups of character reactions. Not enough can be said about the way the film looks. Itís absolutely stunning and really shows off the different landscapes of the locales Shiv travels to including Jaisalmer and Benares. The performances are also noteworthy. Sarang Sathaye accurately conveys the naivety and attitude of a coddled 23-year-old who suddenly decides to leave everything he has ever known behind for something as elusive as enlightenment. His character, early on, is not likable. He seems petulant and actually annoying. But, again, I think thatís the point. His growth as a character is evident as he meets new people on his journey and Sathaye brings the necessary sensitivity to the role. But I see an unevenness to the film as a whole. While Shiv does appear to learn much on his travels, I still feel as if he is a naive child at the end of it all. When he screams off into the distance proclaiming his intention to be a sadhu, I canít help but think the poor guys is still lost. Why is he doing this? What is motivating him. The cause and effects are presented abstractly and sometimes itís too opaque. In a way, I feel as if the story is as lost as Shiv. But is that the intention? Perhaps it is. How many people actually find enlightenment when they go searching for it? Shiv is certainly a different character than the one we see in the opening acts, but I doubt he found what he was looking for. Not many of us do. But sometimes itís what weíre not looking for that ends up finding us. Since I finished watching the film, all I did was consider these questions. And I firmly believe good art poses questions rather than answer them. And there is no doubt ďThe Bright DayĒ delivers on that point.

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