<Review by: Sailesh Ghelani>
Directed by Gitanjali Sinha. Starring Raghuvir Yadav, Yashpal Sharma, Manjusha Godse, Raj Tandon, Anya Anand, Kishor Nadalskar, Nitin Kerur, Aditya Sidhu, Gulshan Pandey.
Thinking Yeh Khula Aasman to be a niche film and seeing that it has won some awards internationally I figured I’d catch this Hindi film. Never again will I make this mistake.
Don’t be fooled by all those awards wreaths (most are just ‘Selected’) adorning the poster of Yeh Khula Aasman. One of them is from the ‘Haryana Film Festival’!
The story is about Avinash (Raj Tandon) who has been banished to Mumbai to study while his parents played by Yashpal Sharma and Manjusha Godse are busy with their careers in England. The poor boy fails, gets disheartened and decides to go back to his old family house in a village where his loving old grand father Dadu Gulab (Raghubir Yadav) still stays, longing for his family to return to see him. Needless to say dadu is elated upon his grandson’s return and bursts into song soon after.
Avinash’s parents still don’t seem to care, preferring to stay on in England (though very much shot in a tacky home in India) while their son slowly dips into depression. So much so that the filmmaker shows us a vessel of water bubbling over as a metaphor. And then some very TV soap music plays as dadu, in slow motion, runs up the bungalow steps towards his grandson’s room where he finds Avinash… with a bit of a fever. Anti-climax is an understatement.
Avinash is so whiny and irritating that you can’t really empathise with him. And then of course the neighbour uncle’s daughter played by horrible actor Anya Anand falls for him and keeps telling him to fly kites. Because the village has a kite flying competition, which dadu had won eons ago, and his arch nemesis’s son challenges Avinash to a kite duel. Snore…
Only Raghubir Yadav’s performance is noteworthy but he too soon gets corny, throaty and on your nerves. ‘Fly the kite, win the competition,’ they all go. ‘No, I can’t do it, I’m too depressed,’ says Avinash. ‘But dadu may be dying, you have to, for him.’ (*bangs head on front theatre seat*.)
Apart from the long, boring, needless shots of the kite flying competition, this film is poorly produced, poorly acted and poorly directed. Whoever is giving away these awards needs to be shot at once. This film looks like it was made in the 80s (and not in a good way), it is so dated but apparently it was shot just a year ago. Shameful. It is filled with so much faux, cliche philosophical drivel about ‘focussing’ and ‘thinking positive’ that you want to just kill the writer.
Indian critics are talking about how many crocins, disprins (asprins) they need after horrendous films and while the PR people for this film were talking about giving away kites for the movie, I was thinking one of those meds would have been a better idea.
Note: Apparently the makers of Yeh Khula Aasmaan threatened to sue one of the writers of another site who gave the film a bad review. I tweeted about this saying that they would have their hands full of they did that to all the reviewers! Such sore losers, aren’t they? Why have a press show if you can’t take the bad reviews? And just because a film gets ‘awards’ at ‘dubious’ film festivals doesn’t mean it has to be liked by all.
Of course the director Gitanjali Sinha tweeted in response: ‘We have the humility to appreciate honest opinions’… ‘but cant encourage young writers to question the credibility of respected festivals’.