There is much to admire in Bela Negi?s first film Daayen Ya Baayen.
Set entirely in Uttarakhand, the film is stunningly beautiful. And the beauty isn?t just wallpaper as it is in many films.
Bela, a native of Uttarakhand, makes the locales come alive without making them intrusive. The performances are equally natural, especially that of Deepak Dobriyal who plays Ramesh, a dreamer and an idealist, who returns from the city to his mountain village but discovers that you can never go home again.
Ramesh?s wife is unhappy with his reverse migration, the villagers find his enthusiasm to build a cultural center amusing and his life seems to be at a dead end.
Quite randomly then, he wins a swanky red car in a television contest, becomes the most famous man in his village and invariably life gets even more complicated.
What works here is the quiet humour. Bela finds the inherent comedy in ordinary lives. So Ramesh?s big gift to his wife on his return from the city is a back-scratcher; the village has been given three computers by the government but rats have bit through the wires and the women in the village are all hooked to a television soap.
The director has a great comfort in the milieu and the supporting cast of mostly non-professional actors adds to the texture. But what hobbles the film is the pacing.
Daayen Ya Baayen is languorous to the point of being painful.
The story takes such a long time to unfold that you start to lose interest in the characters and their struggles. The story meanders and there just isn?t enough meat here to keep you hooked.
Beyond a point, I got extremely restless.
Daayen Ya Baayen is a film made with love. Bela has a great affection for her characters. I?m recommending it with reservations. You need a lot of patience for this one.
Two and a half stars