By Utpal Borpujari
Shyam Benegal, the master social commentator in Indian cinema, has of late taken the route of humour and satire to tell his stories. Like his Welcome to Sajjanpur, his latest film Well Done Abba too belongs to the satiric genre.
The film, which did not do too well when it was released in theatres sometime back, has all the subtle touches of a Benegal movie, making it an enjoyable fare that at the same time ruthlessly exposes the rot in the system.
Well Done Abba is the story of Armaan Ali, a driver working with a senior executive in Mumbai, who goes home on leave to find a suitable match for his daughter and simply vanishes for three months. When he returns, his boss wants to sack him, but Ali has a story to tell him – the story of how his decision to avail of a government scheme to dig a well in his land goes haywire due to corrupt officials, and how he gets back at them with the help of his daughter.
The film boasts of some fine acting by Boman Irani in the double role of the honest Ali and his crooked twin brother, Rajit Kapoor as the honest police official who is harassed by his wife for being, well, honest, Minissha Lamba. It is definitely not the best of Benegal’s works, but even then, it is much better than most of the films that come out every year in India.
Well Done Abba; dir: Shyam Benegal; Rs 299, Big Home Video