Aisa Yeh Jahaan marks a return to films for Palash Sen, the Euphoria frontman, who plays a loving father and doting husband in the film. Sen plays Rajib Saikia, who lives in suburban Mumbai with daughter Kuhi (Prisha Dabbas) and wife Ananya (Ira Dubey). Their household also has Pakhi (Kymsleen Kholie), an adolescent girl who assists them with daily chores and looks after Kuhi. While Ananya dreams of a good life, fostered by her constant need for approval from Facebook, Rajib stays grounded and true to his roots.
Ananya, who wants a big car and a big house, struggles with reality, often overlooking the well-being of her family. She even lies to win social approval. Rajib, who misses his native Assam and his parents, tries his best to keep everyone happy. He takes his family on a journey to Assam, where they meet Rajib’s parents. Pakhi meets her mom for the first time after leaving home at a young age.
Director Biswajeet Bora first brings out the problems of urbanization with Ananya forbidding Kuhi’s paternal grandparents from teaching the child Assamese; reason being the child might get confused learning a new language. Yashpal Sharma (of Lagaan fame) puts in a lively performance as Naila Kai, Rajib’s parents’ servant. Gorgeous locations have been used for filming this part, vividly portraying Assamese culture with its dance and other cultural forms.
The second half deals with pollution and the concrete jungles that surround us, keeping us caged and inhibited, whilst living in a metro city. Bora also brings into focus the lives of child artists, who are often oblivious to what’s happening around them.
Sen is convincing, though he fizzles out towards the end, allowing Kymsleen Kholie to step in. Kholie, who faces discrimination for being a girl from the North-East, is cathartic in her acting, and is a mainstay in the film. Ira Dubey, like Palash, fails to hold you, though shedoes offer a few laughs in between. The camera work is shaky, with frequent pan shots of Mumbai- a Bollywood staple. The editor relies on a simple fade-in, fade-out technique for transitions, making each feel like a new chapter in the film.
Why you should watch this film:
Aisa Yeh Jahaan is quaint and leaves the audience with several striking questions towards the end. Weaving several issues together, director Biswajeet Bora has spun a fine yarn with the film. It is also India’s first carbon-neutral film- the crew have planted 400 saplings around the country, making up for carbon emission during the production of the film.