Ankhon Dekhi is a delicate and delightful film about invisible people — those ordinary folk you pass on the street but rarely pay attention to. Writer-director Rajat Kapoor finds beauty and richness in their lives.
He constructs a keenly observed portrait of a lower-middle class family in Delhi, how the centre slowly frays and falls apart. But the film ends on a note that is beguiling and entirely apt for a director whose gurus are Kumar Shahani and Mani Kaul.
Ankhon Dekhi centres around Raje Bauji, played by Sanjay Mishra who, after a dramatic incident, decides that he will only believe what he sees with his eyes.This leads to a series of bewildering situations, including Raje Bauji at the zoo, goading a tiger to roar so he can confirm that tigers roar.
The performances by Sanjay and Seema Pahwa, who plays his harassed wife, are wonderful. Rajat, who also plays a pivotal role in the film, tells their story with tenderness and affection. Sadly, the narrative meanders in the second half — the plot becomes increasingly random and farfetched. But eventually, the strands come together with such a heave of emotion that I found myself wiping away tears.
Ankhon Dekhi is a lovely respite from the formulaic fare that clutters our multiplexes week after week. Make time for it.