Movie Review: ‘Nil Battey Sannata’ by Neha Ravindran


Movie: Nill Battey SannataDirector: Ashwini Iyer Tripathi

Cast: Swara Bhaskar, Ria Shukla, Ratna Pathak Shah, Pankaj Tripathi

Genre: Drama

After weeks of star- studded movies and flashy scripts, Nill Battey Sannata comes as a pleasant breeze. A simple theme, a strong script, a powerful message and fantastic actors- Nill Battey Sannata is a rare combination of humour and drama without overdoing either. Debutant Director Ashwini Iyer Tiwari has sent ripples across Bollywood with his debut movie.  

Chanda (Swara Bhaskar) is a house help who works tirelessly to send her daughter to school. Her daughter Apeksha has no ambitions for herself for she believes that as a doctor’s son becomes a doctor, a maid’s daughter will become a maid. She fares the worst in mathematics and that sends Chanda worrying about Apu’s future. Will she be forced to take a drastic step to motivate her daughter or will her efforts strain the bond between the mother and the daughter?

The highlight of the movie is its simplicity. There is no extravaganza, nothing that will steal away your attention from the theme of the movie. The locations chosen whisk you away right into the soul of the narrative. Chanda is a house help, who has taken up 3-4 jobs to make ends meet and the movie is shot primarily in a one-room house nested between narrow lanes. This location is significant as it highlights Chanda’s struggle to survive as a single mother. There are 4 main characters in the movie- Chanda (Swara Bhaskar), Apu ( Ria Shukla), Ratna Pathak Shah (Chanda is a house-help in her house) and Pankaj Tripathi (the principal of Apu’s school). The story revolves around these four characters, who play a significant role in Apu’s coming of age.

Swara’s performance deserves a special mention. She is undoubtedly an actress of great calibre but she seems to outperform herself with every new role. She easily steps into the role of Chanda, mastering the accent and mannerisms. Now, though the movie is a simple story with a powerful script, it does veer towards the predictable towards the second half. Especially the last scene of the movie was an unnecessary addition where the mystery of Apu’s future should have been left to the imagination of the audience. Nevertheless the execution of the script is engaging enough to overlook its minor flaws.

Nill Battey Sannata is a beautiful story, of growing up, struggles, relationships and dreams. For all you enjoy a small dose of realistic movies, this movie is a must watch.

My verdict: ****

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