There must be something truly inspiring and epic about the Great Rann of Kutch in Gujarat. Films that have had scenes filmed in the austere landscape of the area have seen its strange beauty contribute to their trademark image (some examples are Lagaan or Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela), and Jal is the next in view.
A desert child myself, I was immediately drawn to the incredibly vivid cinematography of Jal from the onset, or should I say, from it's very first trailer.
A stunningly well crafted debut film by Girish Malik, Jal has plot, visuals, actors, background score and songs as well as that sense of majesty that sometimes makes screen entertainment memorable.
I cannot help but muse on how history somehow seems to repeat itself. Purab Kohli (who plays Bakka, Jal's main protagonist) is a descendant of Chetan Anand's family. Chetan Anand debuted in film with Neecha Nagar, a tale of a community's plight due to a crucial lack of clean water. His film went on to win the coveted Grand Prix Cannes Film Festival in 1946. Water, as its title allows us to predict, is also at the very essence of Jal's sinuous and riveting storyline. The film has also held an important role in the Cannes Film Festival celebration of 100 years of cinema in 2013.
Jal revolves around a young man named Bakka (Purab Kohli), who is gifted with a special ability to find water in the desert. With the backdrop of water scarcity, the film tells a complex and intriguing story of love, relationships, enmity, deceit and circumstances that bring about the dark side of human character. Jal is a high-octane, action-drama with a shocking climax. (Synopsis by Wikipedia)
Fate has it that Bakka falls in love with Kesar (Kirti Kulhari), a beauty from the neighboring village. Everything would be all roses if indeed the villages were not in continuous violent conflict over obtaining water. At the same time, a foreign woman (Saidah Jules) settles in the area to save local flamingos from water scarcity. As villagers assist her in her project, it is left to see whether she will care as much for these welcoming villagers as for the animals she is so passionate about. When there is not enough blue gold for everyone, passions stir in all directions and Jal portrays all of this with heart. Supporting roles played by Ravi Gossain, Tannishtha Chatterjee, Yashpal Sharma, Rahul Singh and Mukul Dev lend the necessary intensity to Girish Malik's and Rakesh Mishra's story. Music directors Bickram Ghosh and first-timer Sonu Nigam have crafted wonderful music for the atmosphere.
Jal is arid and rustic but is still a sublime moving canvas that will not leave audiences indifferent, be it for its visuals, for its compelling performances or for the thoughts and feelings on human truths it may provoke in each viewer. Don't miss it at a cinema near you.
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Directed by Girish Malik
Produced by Oneworld Films Pvt. Ltd.
Screenplay by Girish Malik, Rakesh Mishra
Story by Rakesh Mishra
Cast Purab Kohli, Tannishtha Chatterjee, Kirti Kulhari
Music by Sonu Nigam, Bickram Ghosh
Cinematography Sunita Radia