Ram Prasad Ki Tehrvi movie review: A slice-of-life tale that is relatable, well performed
Ram Prasad Ki Tehrvi
Director: Seema Pahwa
Cast: Naseeruddin Shah, Supriya Pathak, Manoj Pahwa, Ninad Kamat, Vinay Pathak, Parambrata Chattopadhyay, Vikrant Massey, Konkona Sen Sharma
In a scene from Ram Prasad Ki Tehrvi (RPKT), the family members are discussing if they should keep the prayer meet of the departed soul on the first day of the year or not, because after all who’d like to start the year on a sad note. But the makers clearly didn’t have any such apprehensions while releasing the film on the first day of 2021, that too in theatres.
With a stellar lineup of brillant actors, RPKT is a great watch. There’s Naseeruddin Shah, Manoj Pahwa, Vinay Pathak, Supriya Pathak, Parambrata Chattopadhyay, Konkona Sen Sharma and a host of supporting actors. And making her directorial debut is actor Seema Pahwa, who has also written the story.
RPKT is a subtle satire at all those middle-class families where the death of head of the family leads to a change in dynamics between its members. Secrets are unearthed and things that were never spoken of are finally said. The story starts with Ram Prasad’s (Shah) death and how his entire family of four sons (Gajraj, Manoj, Pankaj, Nishant) and two daughters, along with their spouses and kids--gather at their ancestral home in Lucknow for 13 days to perform rituals. During this period, they indulge in discussions, harmless jibes, casual conversations, arguments and some epiphanies. There are revelations that their dead father has left a bank loan for them to repay, besides the dilemma about who is going to take care of their ‘amma’ (Supriya Pathak) now that she’s left alone after her husband’s death.
While Pahwa’s attempt at direction is laudable, it’s the writing that falters at many places. Several jokes fall flat but there are instances where subtle humour makes you giggle, however short-lived that giggle maybe. RPKT is a film that you’ll find relatable. It gets you emotional without getting too intense.
You would also love the well etched-out characters and the way each one of them gets to shine in their given screen time. While the sons look more natural in their scenes together, the daughters-in-law enjoying their kitchen politics trigger some light-hearted laughs. The camaraderie among the four brothers is delectable as they sit on the rooftop, drinking all night and opening up like never before.
A special mention to Supriya, who, without too many dialogues, packs a strong performance with just her expressions. The beauty of the scenes is how they’ve been conceptualized. For instance, each time a new guest, relative or a neighbour arrives to offer condolences, amma narrates the tragic tale of the night of her husband’s death, like a broken record, saying the same words and maintaining the same flow. Even her expressions don’t change.
The story moves at a decent pace, though, at close to two hours, it seems slightly stretched especially in the second half.
I won’t call RPKT a highly entertaining film, but it’s a slice-of-life family drama full of warmth that you can enjoy once for its tale of ‘comedy in tragedy’.
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