By MovieTalkies.com, 14 September 2007
Samir Karnik's Nanhe Jaisalmer has lots of things going for it, the first being the absolutely novel story idea. Even though the relationship between a fan and a cine star has been explored before as well, (Dharmendra & Jaya Bhaduri in Guddi), this has a slightly different effect. Nanhe Jaisalmer is a lot more besides the obvious story of fan worship. The film has a lot to do about friendship, inspiration and literacy as well. The film is touching and sweet in places but Karnik's effort doesn't leave you entirely satisfied.
The film's story centres around Nanhe (Dwij Yadav), who lives in Jaisalmer with his mother, sister, Suman, and his camel called Raja. The boy is all of ten years old, illiterate, but the sole bread winner of his family. But Nanhe is a die-hard Bobby Deol fan. You may well wonder why Bobby and not a SRK or a Salman? Well, as it transpires, the actor comes for a shoot to this far-flung desert town and that's where the first meeting takes place. The boy is totally smitten by his hero. Nanhe now believes that Bobby is his best friend and he sends him a letter everyday. He calls him dost and since he is illiterate, he makes his sister write the letters for him. His room is full of pictures, posters and news clippings of his favorite movie star. He does not miss any of Bobby's films. In short, he literally lives, breathes and talks about Bobby Deol.
Nanhe keeps dreaming that one day he will meet his friend. That keeps him going. And one fine day he actually does come face-to face with his hero, who lands up in Jaisalmer. During their encounters, Bobby also imparts some important lessons to Nanhe, about life and living.
The director tries a Manoj Night Shyamalam type twist (remember Sixth Sense?) at the end which doesn't quite fall in place. The strength of Sixth Sense was its superbly sculpted screenplay, which makes sense even when the twist happens, as it falls into place backwards as well. But somehow Karnik is not able to pull this off with finesse in Nanhe Jaisalmer. So even though one can sense the effort and intention of the director, it is somehow not enough. The intention doesn't translate onto the screen and that's what ultimately matters.
This is not to say that the film does not work at all. Far from it. The film has many emotional sequences which have been handled very well by the director. The scenes between Nanhe and his mother are quite touching. Karnik is ably supported by his cast, all of who chip in with a competent performance. The best, of course, comes from the young protagonist, Dwij Yadav. He dominates the screen space in terms of time, and manages to hold his own against Bobby Deol and other veterans in the film. Also worth watching is actor Sharad Saxena, as one of the villagers. Actor Bobby Deol, is of course, portrayed as a real hero, and he is quite good in the movie.
Binod Pradhan's cinematography is definitely one of the pluses of the movie as well, while Himesh Reshammiya's music is not. There are just a couple of good numbers but in short the music of the film is quite disappointing.
In just his second directorial venture, Karnik has shown courage in attempting to pull off something so unconventional. But the attempt falls a little flat. Also the direct ‘message giving' kind of takes away from the primary aim of the film, which is surely not to educate like a school, but to entertain. The message, if any, surely needs to be worked in more insidiously.
Nanhe Jaisalmer is among the recent spate of films with the child actor being the centre of attention. There was Apna Aasman which released last week. It's a little sad that the film has not turned out as well as one would have liked it to as it is in essence a very sweet movie.