After a deluge of Hindi movies based in the hinterland this year, here’s another. Instead of touching social issues that plague our interiors, debutante Director Ajoy brings us a straightforward story that preaches morality. Unfortunately, in doing so he’s detached himself from the audience as the entire film comes off as an old fable your grandma would have told you in bed.
Reminiscent of a critically acclaimed Malayalam film, PONMUTTAYIDUNNA THARAVU, (The Goose that Lays Golden Eggs), DUS TOLA has an appealing plotline with few comedic bursts. Filled with quirky characters with their own stories running in parallel – a saadhu who spends his drunken nights with the village prostitute (also wooed by the village sarpanch!), a cowherd in a perpetual search for his runaway cow, a nosy tea-shop owner, a muslim who keeps his third wife hidden from everyone’s eyes, envious neighbors…you get the picture. It would have been an absolute joy had the movie not been dragged out in parts.
In a remote coastal hamlet, Shankar (Manoj Bajpayee), a goldsmith, is lovestruck by the local astrologer’s daughter, Suvarnalata (Aarti Chabria). In order to win over her disapproving father Daya Shastri (Dilip Prabhavalkar), his lady love asks him to present her with a DUS TOLA gold necklace, a would-be ‘mangalsutra’ signifying their union. Indians have a special love for the yellow metal. It bears the power to melt hearts and reverse them. After spending his life’s earnings to win the love of his life, Shankar is in for a rude shock. Suvarnalata’s father convinces her to consider the gift as ‘brotherly love’ and instead vest her interest in a Dubai-based proposal. Her gold-smitten parents proclaim in the village that out of ‘fatherly love’, Shastri gifted the ill-begotten necklace to his daughter. It is only post her marriage that the Dubai-based husband reveals that he is only a truck driver. To make matters worse, his visa gets revoked resulting in his permanent return to India, thus flushing away all her foreign dreams. Suvarnalata still proudly struts around with the necklace dangling in her neck. Will Shankar ever avenge his broken heart and find true love? Or will the greed of Suvarnalata and her gold-smitten parents triumph?
Sandesh Shandilya’s music scores an average. S. Kumar’s cinematography is absolutely convincing and has its own role to play as the tea-shop ceiling that keeps crumbling under the feet of a dance class!
Manoj Baypayee does justice to his role and fits right into his character’s shoes. A noteworthy scene is when Shankar has his heartbroken and is completely shattered. Other must mentions for commendable performances include Govind Namdev, Ninad Kamat Vidya Malvade, Dilip Prabhavalkar and Asif Basra. Siddharth Makkar is ok. Pallavi Sharde is charming as the girl-next-door.
It’s a film bereft of vulgarity and violence with slapstick humor and strong moralistic undertones. Rest assured you can safely take your kids to watch this one. Adult audiences might find the preaching boring.