Ghode Ko Jalebi Khilane Le Jaa Riya Hoon movie review : Masterful storytelling of a gritty reality interspersed with surrealism
Four ordinary people, namely a labour-activist, a heritage tour guide, a pick-pocket and a sweet-savoury shop vendor who has now turned a soothsayer, form an unlikely friendship in the dingy by lanes of Old Delhi’s Shahajanabad.
They decide to take people on heritage walks, walks that will show them the real lives of people and exposing them to the dark, gritty reality of the underbellies in Delhi. This plan of theirs however, runs into trouble with the cops as they soon find themselves thrown in jail as the labour-activist gives a speech for uniting the workers and labourers.
A lot of movies have been made on the lives of slum dwellers and the working class, but it is indeed Anamika Haksar’s on the point documenting of these people that stands out in the film ‘Ghode Ko Jalebi Khilane Jaa Riya Hoon’. The dingy lanes, the slums and the sewers in any city offer a lot of stories to tell than the bridges and highways. Anamika Haksar’s film too tries to draw parallels from the lives of four ordinary men who try to make a living and try to tell tales of a city of Shahajanabad, lost in an era of multiplexes and social media.
There are hints of surrealism which remind us that like our four protagonists, even we dream and our dreams don’t have to make sense to the world, but they do matter to us. The labourers, the pick-pocketeers, the street vendors, beggars, street singers, were all carefully documented over a period of seven years by director Anamika Haksar.
‘Ghode Ko Jalebi Khilane Le Jaa Riya Hoon’ tries to mirror the much -ignored underbelly of Delhi. The homeless and the people who live on the streets and who have a hand-to-mouth existence may be ignored by the rest of the world, but Anamika’s camera has captured them all. She tries to show the structures and order in the lives of those who otherwise live an unstructured life and who don’t know when the next meal would come from.
Perhaps, that is why the movie opens with a shot of the drains almost to show us how we the privileged think of these people as pretty dispensable. The film is narrated with a lot of surrealism imagery, such as magic carpets flying, a communist flag, apples and snakes, a woman floating in mid-air acknowledging the lucid dreams one has. Because it is only the dreams that keep these people alive in the face of drudgery and abject poverty.
The film pays homage to escapism as every one of the people shown in the film would indeed want to escape their situation.
A lot of people in recent times have taken to heritage walks in Mumbai and Delhi post-pandemic, perhaps to ensure people step out of their homes and bring in some normalcy back to their lives. This movie too centres around a heritage being undertaken and how it lands up the four leads in jail.
The title of the film is an idiomatic expression as explained by the director in an interview which she explains sums up Old Delhi and lives of the people who live there.
There is pretty much nothing to complain about the technical details of the film. Cinematographer SaumyanandSahi has played special attention to the film that looks visually stunning and even the scenes shot in the slums and the badly-lit streets look real. Paresh Kamdar has ensured that the final outcome is water-tight and doesn’t look either too stretched. The screenplay too is fantastic and keeps you rooted to your seats till the end. As for the director, Anamika Haksar has created a masterpiece that is sure to stay with you even as you leave the cinema halls and go back home.
The movie boasts of stellar star cast featuring theatre artists such as Raghubir Yadav, Ravindra Sahu, Gopalan and Lokesh Jain and all have done a fantastic job in portraying the characters that seem so close to real.
This movie isn’t a light hearted watch, but is in fact a more exhaustive commentary on the who we choose to ignore in our daily lives. This is indeed a cinematic masterpiece.