Film: Hello Zindagi
Cast: Mrunmayee Lagoo, Kittu Gidwani
Direction: Raja Unnithan
She (Mrunmayee Lagoo) has posters of Jim Morrison and Bob Marley on her walls: rather belated icons for someone her age. She stuffs her drawer with Kama Sutra condoms, and keeps her room locked from parents. During the day, she goes out shoplifting, when not discussing men. The fakeness of cool fries your brains up.
On a random night-out — “Can we go to the disc tonight?” — a stranger offers her a drink. She gulps it down. On another night at a club, upset with her friends, she meets the same fellow again — “Come on, we shall have a nice drink! Let’s dance… Just relax. Just take a chill pill.” She snorts coke, gets hammered; few days later, even moves out of her parents’.
I don’t want to know how hard it must be to raise children, especially in their teens, in a transient society such as ours. The sight of 13-year-olds, padded up to look 30, loaded on the wallet, downing tequila shots at city’s bars, is unnerving enough.
This is a normal Mumbai, mid-class claustrophobic home, dingily shot on what appears a cheap, single camera setup. The kid seems reasonably well brought up otherwise. The father (Kanwaljit Singh) is left hurt. But the picture’s perspective is truly a pedestrian outsider’s. It offers no insight into what kids are really up to.
The girl here isn’t up to much. Her dad, later no more, asks her to follow her dreams. He wished to be a sailor, ended up pursuing sales figures. She sails off to Goa, with a middle-aged doctor (Kittu Gidwani) she’d barely met on her hospital bed. Eh? She suddenly spends the other half of the film breeding endangered Olive Ridley turtles in Goa. Huh?
The film, approved by Mumbai’s Mantralaya, comes supported by Ministry of Forests, Government of Maharashtra. What? The mother (Neena Gupta) meanwhile broods alone. Hello?