Jhalki: Inspired by real life

Film: Jhalki

Cast: Aarti Jha, Goraksha Sakpal, Sanjay Suri, Divya Dutta, Joy Sengupta, Tannishtha Chatterjee, Govind Namdeo, Akhilesh Mishra, Boman Irani

Director: Brahmanand S Singh

Rating: * * ½

Director Brahmanand S Singh’s debut feature encapsulates the trials and tribulations of a young girl, Jhalki (Aarti Jha) in search of her trafficked sibling, Babu (Goraksha Sakpal). Much like ‘Love Sonia’, but without the masterful craftiness that director Tabrez Noorani lent to his International production. Brahmanand’s small budget film, follows the young girl as she moves around at will within the confines of the carpet manufacturing town in Mirzapur, where her brother was last seen.

The director of well-received documentaries on Jagjit Singh and R D Burman fails to find a firm footing with this fictional representation inspired by real life. By co-mingling folklore with realism and inserting Nobel Laureate Kailash Satyarthi’s liberating efforts (with charismatic Boman Irani illuminating that aspect), the director may have hoped to intriguingly engage with young minds on the topic of human trafficking, but the effect is neither interesting nor compelling.

The language used (a dialect from north India) restricts the involvement to a large extent and the wayward, unpolished plotting does the rest. The rather threadbare craft and the amateurish narration lends the film a rather dated aura more suited to complement Kamini Kaushal’s puppet based storytelling series on 80’s television than a post-millennial big screen feature. Aarti Jha is convincing enough as the young girl in search of her brother but the plotting appears too contrived and makes it all seem rather willful than logical. The film may have won several awards in little known festivals and may be peopled with internationally recognized Indian actors but it’s box-office worth is iffy at best.

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