By now everyone has heard of this movie called ‘The Good Road’. We have also heard a lot about it being selected as one of the official entries for the esteemed 86th Academy Awards, 2014. We insist that everyone to first watch the movie and then decide if this is the right choice. Or not.
The movie has three stories, about a grumpy truck driver, a 7-year-old girl and a 7-year-old boy. The Truck driver is one of the lead characters, named Pappu, Gyan Correa the debuted Director and his team auditioned more than 200 drivers on the roads of Gujarat before casting Shamji Dhana Kerasia. He was given very few dialogues, allowing his face to do the talking. According to media reports Shamji has never seen a movie.
The 7-year-old boy ‘Aditya’ played by Keval Katrodia, the son of Sonali Kulkarni and Ajay Gehi, who gets lost on the highway, while the family is out on a trip to the Rann of Kutch in their van. There is another 7-year-old girl played by Poonam Kesar Singh. Both had to audition for their respective roles. While Keval hails from Mumbai, Poonam is from Ahmedabad. Both the child artists have taken the screen by a storm and are naturals!
We connected with one of the most promising Actor Sonali Kulkarni (She is known to support debutant Directors all through her career, such as Farhan Akhtar). She plays a crucial role in the movie and depicts an array of emotions as the movie becomes larger and simpler in its premise. We asked her the reason for her to accept this low budget movie. She says, “The simplicity of the story intrigued me. The story is very simple yet has so many aspects to it.” We also learnt from many media reports that the team had very basic amenities while shooting (they lived in mud huts that are usually used by visitors that come for the Bhuj Festival. The huts are little bigger than a basic car). She adds, “I think Amitabha Singh who was the Director of Photography (DOP) faced difficulties more than us. “ (Amitabha Singh has shot films like Chillar Party and Khosla Ka Ghosla earlier).
In high praise for her debutant Director, Gyan Correa, Sonali mentions that, “Gyan’s style of movie making and depiction of emotions on screen is very subtle.” This is his first attempt to make a film for the big screen but the craft is not new to him. He comes with a massive experience in making ad films. He is also the Writer of this movie which shows his skill in this regards as well. We say skill specifically because the movie has layers to it and intertwines the three lead characters.
The Good Road is made on a luxury budget of 2.25 crore. We say this because in Gujarat, film budgets seldom go beyond 20 – 25 lakh. The finance and support comes from the National Film Development Corporation (NFDC). The same corporation also supports Lunchbox and Bhaag Milkha.. which were movies also in the long haul for the Oscar selection, but alas! Another interesting aspect of this wonderful but not-that-known movie is that the Oscar –winner and pride of India Resul Pookutty (the Slumdog Millionaire fame) did the sound designing for this movie.
We think this movie is more Indian than any other movie that perhaps was considered for the Oscar entry. It has already received the National Award this year as Best Feature Film (Gujarati) in the regional category. We also need to consider the fact that the movie is small budget whereas the many others are bigger and are supported by large production houses. All these movies have received due publicity as well!
We say this; any good story should get its due! The Oscar committee may not have so much time and patience to watch a movie. The Good Road runs for 92 minutes which is a fair bet and justifies the time the jury may prefer to spare. Also, would you watch a movie for 2 hours when you have many others to go through? Furthermore, shortlist the top 5? It’s a tough job and a decently time-consuming movie with a hear warming and hard hitting story, with an underlying message of humility and valuing relationships is what may win the jury than any other subject ranging from patriotism, romance to a personal story.
We do not think that the other movies were not good or worth it. All we’re saying is just cut them some slack! Let’s watch the movie and know if it is actually a good choice or not.
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