Gaon - The Village No More Review
What good are good intentions if they're not backed up by good content? It's not a lesson I thought I needed to learn but Gaon - The Village No More is hell-bent on teaching me regardless.
You know you're in trouble when your film's bye-line is the same as Chennai Express but your lead doesn't have the charisma of even an extremely hammy SRK.
A story of greed and consumerism, writer-director Gautam Singh comes up with a great analogy between India's slavery to British Raj and our current unconditional submission to technology and materialism today. It makes a fair point about being willing slaves in a free world but the problem is that the film then repeatedly stresses on this point, many times out loud and at least twice in monologues by characters looking almost directly into the camera and scolding the audiences for the state they're in: paying to watch a badly made film that scolds them.
In fact, the central conceit of the film (a village in Jharkhand that has no idea India has been a free country for 70 years now) is so outlandish and far from the reality the film actually wants to depict that they had to put a disclaimer in the beginning that the film isn't a comment on the Modi government's efforts to bring development to villages.
The film is full of character actors we've seen in better parts and is mostly poorly enacted. The film's hyper saturated cinematography and its mostly apt production design and locales save the film from looking like the complete amateur effort that it is.
The trend today is to pick a theme relevant to today's society and to package it entertainingly, so as to educate audiences without them even knowing it. It makes it that much harder to take a film and its social message seriously when all it does is hammer its point into your head for 2 hrs 11 mins. That's 2 hrs 10 mins too many.
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