Manjeet Singh is part of the new breed of Indian filmmaker that eschews the song-and-dance traditions of mainstream Bollywood to create observational slice-of-life social commentaries about contemporary India. This is cinema that’s more Satyajit Ray than Shah Rukh Khan. As with Ray’s “Pather Panchali,” Singh’s film is born from the traditions of Italian neorealism. Shooting at real locations in a documentary style, Singh observes the activities of young friends Rahui (Rahui Bairagi), Arbaaz (Arbaaz khan) and Salman (Salman Khan) as they steer their way through Mumbai’s slums. The director is just as interested in what doesn’t happen as he is in Rahui’s crush on a local girl and inability to cope with his alcoholic father. Despite making clever use of balloons as a metaphor for the difficulties in escaping the slums, Singh hasn’t made the boys sufficiently strong characters to mask the lack of a defining narrative thread. Criticwire grade: B [Kaleem Aftab]
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