Ram Prasad Ki Tehrvi

Ram Prasad Ki Tehrvi Black Comedy is a genre of films that makes light of the subjects that are normally considered serious or painful. Writers and filmmakers often use this style for precipitating discomfort, serious thinking or creating amusement for the audience. Making a black comedy is like conducting an orchestra, in which every artist plays its part perfectly and every note falls in the right place. It is a huge challenge to execute a good black comedy project, where every single piece needs to blend seamlessly with the rest to create the right overall impact –all ‘surs’ (aka wires) must connect finally, including its connectivity with the audience. Ram Prasad Ki Tehrvi (RAMKT) is a splendid effort in making a slice- of- the- life movie in the genre of black comedy- well written with a range of characters beautifully etched out, well performed by an ensemble cast of ‘actors’, well edited and above all well directed, it is a film worth seeing for the entire family. Each character is relatable especially for the viewers, who have seen or been a part of a joint family. For me it was a trip down the memory lane as the story is set in Lucknow (my home town) and we had a ‘Bhargava family’ as our neighbors in Ganeshganj, one of the old Mohallas of Lucknow. The frustration of being the eldest in family (they want me to earn money at the earliest or get out of the house), the pain of being in the middle (all new things for the elders, only left overs for me) and the loneliness of being the youngest (physically attached but mentally detached) – each one has a story to tell. I also found the Tauji, Mamaji and Phoophaji (a special class of people with oversized egos) relatable including the character of the youngest ‘Bahu’, who is always socially and emotionally a misfit in the family. Over all the film takes you on a nostalgic trip of the good old days of joint-family, textured with dollops of laddoos and kachoris and of course the speed breakers of ‘ Raat ka khana khaya.. …’. The dialogues of the film are sharp and witty and flavored local phrases like, ’Jo bole, kundi khole”. Lucknow is known for its composite culture and it has a large population of Sikhs. Introducing a Sikh character/family sharing the burden along with Bhargava family members adds a heartwarmingly realistic touch to the story. Sandeep Sengupta’s cinematography does justice to the story; some of the shots are just brilliant like the one where Manoj enters the house with a large portrait of Ram Prasad at a time, when there is a fight going on for getting a birth inside the toilet. Death is a subject that has been used in black comedy rarely. Mainly because it is very tricky to create amusement when you are reflecting upon somebody’s death. It can fall flat and it can even misfire. So all credit for the success of the film must go to its writer-director, who has been able to conduct the orchestra admirably including the songs, which are hummable and remind you of the musical orchestration of yesteryears. This is the debut film of the Seema Pahwa as a director. Kudos to Team RAMKT, all I can say is ‘Saksham Bhav ‘.

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O P Srivastava

A banker-turned filmmaker based in Mumbai. India.

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