Dir/Writer: Dar Gai | Cast: Namdev Gurav, Aarya Dave, Zoya Hussain | India | Drama | 84min | Subtitles
Filmed on the widescreen and in intimate close-up by Aditya Varma (Manto), this visually stunning arthouse drama is a simple tale but a transcendent one that will chime with audiences sick and tired of the endless noise and commotion of the modern world. Elderly chauffeur Namdev is at the end of his career and his tether as he slowly goes mental forced to endure the cacophony of Mumbai, one of the noisiest cities in the world. In this stylishly framed low-budget indie Ukrainian-born Dai Gai quickly establishes the cacophony of the city as ambient sounds drift through the house Namdev shares with his extended family. Exhausted by his wife’s endless banter and his brother’s religious chanting, he escapes from the kitchen to the privacy of his taxi, but his regular customers are soon fighting over a fare.
Desperate for calm Namdev packs his wheelie and heads north to the fabled mountain retreat of Silent Valley, where he hopes to find peace at last. However, on arriving in the Himalayas, Namdev discovers ‘silent’ has nothing to do with this busy religious centre where the locals and pilgrims are just as rowdy as back home in Mumbai. The film then takes an intriguing turn into buddy movie territory when Namdev meets a young boy called Aaliq (Dave) who is on the run from his parents. Darkly comic and contemplative, Dar Gai’s well-paced and compelling second outing seems to find gentle humour in every frame as Namdev travels through spectacular landscapes in search of that most prized treasure: Peace. With Andrea Guerra’s beguiling occasional score giving proceedings a Mediterranean twist and sensitive performances from Namdev Gurav and Aarya Dave, the irritating boy who hides a tragic secret, this is a refreshingly beautiful portrait of a man who’s tired of the city but not yet of life. Watching it, you can actually feel the wind blowing through your hair. MT
SCREENING DURING LONDON FILM FESTIVAL 10-21 OCTOBER 2018