The digital edition of the Indian Express Film Club, held recently, was flooded with poignant questions after the screening of Eeb Allay Ooo!, the directorial debut of filmmaker Prateek Vats. The 90-minute film deals with the life of a young migrant who lives in Delhi and lands the job of a contractual labourer — entrusted with scaring away monkeys from the many public buildings. The film has received universal critical acclaim and was chosen to be screened at Panorama section of the Berlin International Film Festival and also at the Mumbai Film Festival. “It’s all monkey business. Eeb Allay Ooo! imaginatively melds fact and fiction, laughter and anger, to examine how some of us are more equal than others, and how the gatekeepers are sometimes as oppressed by the system as the ones they want to keep out,” shared Indian Express film critic Shubhra Gupta.
Post the digital screening of the film, Prateek Vats (Director) and Shwetaabh Singh (Producer) were present for an online discussion and also fielded questions from the audience. The discussion picked up the themes of urban migration, and how society seldom acknowledges people on the margins, those who make urban spaces tick and run like clockwork.
Eeb Allay Ooo! has many scenes with monkeys as they jump around in Lutyen’s Delhi. “It was a very tough film to shoot, we wrapped it up in about 50 days. We were shooting at the nerve centre of the Capital, and yes there were monkeys involved, the architecture of all these massive buildings, and all the forces from paramilitary to CISF and BSF. And when we had all the permissions someone would come and be like ‘what are you doing here’?” shared Vats. “The most difficult part must have been to get shots of the monkeys. How did you manage to do that?” asked Alokananda. “Patience, lots of patience. But with a film like this that’s the first thing you imagine — how do we go about it? But we managed,” answered Vats.
For Mahendran, from Trichy, the film was a major dose of nostalgia and a past experience coming alive. “I had worked in Delhi in the 1980s, and have seen monkeys roaming around. I also enjoyed the character of the typical sarkari babu, who enjoys practising his own routine,” he added.
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