Streaming now on YouTube
It’s always the right time to talk about the migrant crises in India but with the current pandemic bringing this issue into the limelight, it seems apt that we can now watch Prateek Vats’ Eeb Allay Ooo! The title represents the guttural sounds elicited to drive away monkeys while the film itself revolves around the young migrant Anjani (Shardul Bharadwaj) who moves to New Delhi and is employed as a monkey repeller. His job is to drive away the hordes of monkeys inhabiting the urban government colonies of the city using theatrics and sounds as any harm to the monkeys is dealt with the ire of the wildlife conservation officials as well as religious civilians. While Anjani finds it hard to master this task, the hopelessness of his situation comes crashing down upon him.
The migrant crisis isn’t new
One of the biggest issues this highly realistic film sheds light on is that the migrant crisis is not a new thing. In fact, lakhs of people migrate from villages and smaller towns in India to the big cities in search of better jobs and richer lives, only to live in squalor. Their living conditions are deplorable and there’s little happiness in their professional lives either. Casteism and communalism hinder them from making much progress socially or economically. In a society that offers them little attention and far less compassion, these men and women continue to make a big difference albeit in the shadows.
If you can’t beat them, join them
In the case of Anjani, the young man moved to the city with moderate hopes and self-respect. He was bitter about having to behave like a primate to drive the monkeys away. Even though he introduced model ways to do his job, his boss was always keen on showing him his place. There was clearly no room for Anjani’s creativity and slowly, he started to resent his job and his life, which offered little solace. As he managed to find the primate within himself, Anjani realized his place in society and the hopelessness that lay in store for him.
The actors are a class apart
The talented actors of Eeb Allay Ooo! do a commendable job, be it Shardul Bharadwaj in the lead or his friend and colleague Mahender Nath (playing himself), who happens to be a monkey repeller in real life. His elder sister (Nutan Sinha) and brother-in-law (Shashi Bhushan) have smaller but important roles to play and their own stories run parallel to Anjani’s, giving the viewers a better look into their lives as a whole family and community.
WATCH OR NOT
Eeb Allay Ooo! is available on YouTube as a part of the We Are One: Global Film Festival, so it’s the perfect time to witness this beautiful film. This part-documentary, part-feature brings you some very real performances about important issues and packs it all up with comedy and cinematic brilliance. Watch it before it is gone.
Director: Prateek Vats
Cast: Shardul Bharadwaj, Nutan Sinha, Shashi Bhushan, Mahender Nath
Streaming on: YouTube