Verdict – A decent attempt to light up Renu’s Panchlight on celluloid.
Phanishwar Nath Renu is one of the most celebrated writers of modern Hindi literature. His works were often considered as the reflection of rural India and are regarded as ever contemporary. This is not the first time when his short story has been adapted into a feature film. The National Film Award winner Teesri Kasam was adapted from his short story Mare Gaye Gulfam. And now, another popular story ‘Panchlight’ (Petromax) has been adapted by director Prem Prakash Modi. Does the movie shine bright? Let’s analyze.
WHAT’S PANCHLAIT ABOUT:
The story of Panchlait is set in a remote village of North India that goes into darkness after sunset. The only source of light is a lantern that shines brightly for a limited period of time. All the nearby villages have their own ‘Panchlight’ and mock the central villagers. So one day, the villagers decide to buy their own Panchlight. The incidents that follow is what the story all about.
Director Prem Prakash Modi and screenplay writer Rakesh Kumar Tripathi have tried their best to showcase the era of the 1950s. To a certain extent, they have succeeded. For instance, how the panchayat takes decisions on social problems is a satirical take on the social and cultural fabric of villages in North India. The authentic locations add more flavor to the narrative of Panchlait. The star cast of the film has also performed well. Amitosh Nagpal, who made his debut in Dabangg as Sonakshi Sinha’s brother, has made a sincere effort. Anuradha Mukharjee, Yashpal Sharma, Ravi Jhankal, and Malini Sengupta have also performed to their best abilities. The director has given a tribute to Phanishwar Nath Renu and Raj Kapoor’s collaboration in Teesri Kasam.
WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER:
In an attempt to make the short story into a full-fledged feature film, the film falls into the trap of the usual fillers such as the romantic scenes between the lead Amitosh and Anuradha, and the addition of many songs. These scenes overshadowed the satirical part of the story, which was actually its core. Had the editing been crisper, the outcome could have been better. The 125-minute runtime seems stretched, considering the limitations of the short story from which the film has been adapted.
WHY YOU SHOULD WATCH THIS MOVIE:
If you enjoy dark humor, then you can give this one a try. The simplicity of the story and the satirical take on the villages of North India is what makes this film a watchable fare.