Cast: Purab Kohli, Ravi Gossain, Tannishtha Chatterjee, Kriti Kulhari, Saidah Jules, Yashpal Sharma, Rahul Singh, Mukul Dev
Director: Girish Malik
Bakka ( Kohli) is a water-diviner who knows better than anyone else where to find the precious life-source in the bone-dry Rann. ‘Jal’ may have been started off to tell us imaginatively about a pressing problem : how lack of water can lead to extinction. But the treatment – tacky, melodramatic, stagey—makes it difficult to sit through.
The film is well shot but ends up looking like an advert for Kutchhi landscapes and costumes. The plot is overcooked, spilling over with too many threads. There’s Bakka and his romance with a ‘dusman gaon wali gori’ Kesar ( Kulhari), who is lusted after by a local Romeo ( Dev). There’s the thwarted belle Kajri ( Chatterjee). For a film of this kind, there’s a lot of skin on show, as we are treated to Kohli and Kulhari getting all hot and heavy. There’s also cringe-making sexual violence.
A camera-toting ‘firangi’ girl ( Jules) adds to the mess. She’s in the desert to study flamingoes, accompanied by an on-the-make local translator ( Sharma) . She roams about in shorts and bare legs, leading to the villagers gaping at her ‘gori chamri’.
Another foreigner who is, for some unexplained reason, hand-in-glove with a local `babu’ ( Singh), shows up with a drilling machine to find ‘jal’. The machine becomes a point of contention between the officials and the ‘gaon-walas’, and somewhere in all this loud, confusing `tamasha’, the story of Bakka and how he is the only hope, gets lost.
The best thing about ‘Jal’ is the distinctive Shubha Mudgal song that’s used in the background.
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