Halkaa Review & Rating
Halkaa Review: Well-Intentioned But Badly Made Film
We are often conditioned to believe that kids don’t need privacy because they are kids and this film Halkaa questions that mindset. And this movie takes this one step further by questioning open defecation through the character of Pichku, an 8-year-old boy who refuses to go to the rail track to unload.
It is the common problem for most people from the slums. There is no privacy even for things like unloading oneself, and it was already deftly handled in Toilet - Ek Prem Katha from the perspective of women. And in a serious way. Noted filmmaker Nila Madhab Panda has tried to the real problem in a funny manner and through the point of view of a child.
Unfortunately, a great point is diluted with unnecessary or improperly treated setpieces. Halkaa basically says no to open defecation and thus supports our Government’s Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. Though the film doesn’t come across as a part of some government policy, it doesn’t touch your heart as a human story either. Rich English speaking kids studying in posh schools are shown to be fascinated by the poor kids and while it is possible, the silly scenes fail to embody their compassion.
Also, the film wanders around aimlessly and is full of incoherent, irrelevant situations that add nothing to the subject at hand. Clichéd slow-mo dream sequences of Pichku gazing at a colorful portable potty and flower fields fail to amuse you or feel for his traumatic situation. The boy’s conversation with his parents played by Ranvir Shorey and Paoli Dam doesn’t seem heartfelt either. They feel forced. The dialogues are straight out of ad films of the sort the governments of the 1960s and 1970s made.
Performances-wise, the young Tathastu did a fine job but his character which should have risen sympathy in the audience is undercooked. Nor are the other important roles are properly written. It all feels like they quickly wanted to wrap it around and... Okay. Leave it.
The music is good in parts and so is the cinematography. But the locales of the boy's world are captured with authenticity. The production values are par for the course, and the editing could have been better what with several incoherent scenes tied together.
Art direction is also in similarly part for course.
All in all, Halkaa is a good example for movies made with good intentions are not good enough. You need to evoke the proper emotions in the viewers. But for its idea, and choosing to narrate it through the eyes of a little boy make up for the faults. If you can sit through the incoherent mess. There's a little message in the film.
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What is Halkaa about?
It is the story of a boy who became a hero. The story of the boy who chose to be right, heroic, and clean. A story of a real-life superhero who fought against open defecation. It is the latest project of Nila Madhab Panda, the critically acclaimed director of films like Kadvi Hawa and I am Kalam, has a strong message at its core - say no to open defecation.
Open defecation is one of the long-running problems that still persist across India. Still, there are some villages where there are no toilets and and even women have to go out of the village to a canal or a pond in order to unload at nature's calling. Not to talk about slums where there are a precious few square feet of land is made abodes of even large families. So, once again, the filmmaker Nila Madhab Panda comes up with a socially relevant subject. He is also backed by the Swachch Bharat campaign.
What to expect from Halkaa?
Socially relevant subject matter
Halkaa revolves around an eight-year-old boy who has a problem with and able to see the problem with open defecation. He doesn't want to unload even if it is tough for him to be like that and bear with the pain. He thus fights against open defecation and in the process becomes a hero albeit of small in stature but big in heart. The boy is played by Tathaastu. What a coincidence!. May the gods say thathastu (May it be so!) for toilets for every house in India!
Despite the different sort of characters she had portrayed in her previous films, Paoli Dam is one proven actress who is capable of handling deep roles. Here she plays a deglamorous role. Ranveer Shorey, when given a chance, can go under the skin of any role. Add to them, the pocket dynamite of Tathaastu, Halkaa is assured of great performances under the able-handed direction of Nila Madhab Panda.
Nila Madhab Panda track record
Nila Madhab Panda has delivered socially relevant and uplifting films which have heartening performances. Take, for example, I am Kalaam. Or Kaun Kitne Paani Mein. Or even his latest venture, Kadvi Hawaa. With Halkaa, he is coming up with not just a socially relevant point, he is touching a subject matter that needs immediate attention.
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