A mellow, mirthful and at times moving
story of three north Indian migrants, Barah Aana may not be the
ideal idea of an evening out or even an entertainer. But for a discerning
audience, this tale of tantalizing possibilities brings in a sense of un-visited
There are three main characters - a quiet driver Shukla (Naseeruddin Shah), a watchman Yadav (Vijay Raaz) and a waiter Aman (Arjun Mathur) - all driven to the doors of despair but stopped in time by a self-directed sense of humour that saves them from self-destruction.
The story gathers momentum when the trio hit on an age-old formula for survival - crime.
Superbly scripted by Raj Kumar Gupta, who recently directed the riveting Aamir, Barah Aana derives its strength from the frailties and vulnerabilities of the three migrant characters who seem to be drawn into the dark side of life without knowing where they are heading.
Debutant director Raja Menon seems to view the people in his plot with a reasonable degree of detachment. There`s a sense of riveting finesse in the way these unsophisticated characters chart their course without self-pity.
Of course the film would have never worked without the cast. What does one say about Naseeruddin Shah without sounding completely like a fan? He`s seen in two totally different avatars this week.
Naseer`s bullied, embittered and silently-seething driver`s part in this film is as distant from his disoriented classical maestro`s role in Nandita Das` Firaaq as only he can make them.
Vijay Raaz, always in top form when given to play a man who has seen life without rose-tinted glasses, gives a sly snarling spin to his role. His performance has both bark and bite. Watch Vijay play the watchman.
The youngest and most inexperienced member of the trio Arjun Mathur, seen in a sensitive part in Zoya Akhtar`s Luck By Chance, has a tough time holding his own against Naseer and Vijay and also holding his Bihari accent in place. But he nevertheless leaves a positive impressive.
Another great performance comes from Tannishtha Chatterjee. As the flamboyant Rani, she shocks you after her quiet performance in Brick Lane. She should be seen more often.
With a message on the plight of migrants, Barah Aana would hardly appeal to multiplex audiences. Films on lives of migrants usually score high as cinematic works but low on mass appeal.
One must say that Preeti Sethi`s camera goes through Mumbai`s lanes with the least fuss. See Barah Aana for its terrific cast, first-rate production values and the director`s firm grip on the grammar of grassroot politics.
Barah Aana is a comedy of real life, set in today’s Mumbai. The story revolves around three unlikely friends: a driver (Naseeruddin Shah), a watchman (Vijay Raaz), and a waiter (Arjun Mathur). The driver is an older man, stoic but dependable. The watchman, in his 30s, is a pushover at work but otherwise mischievous. The waiter is a young, swaggering chap, brimming with ambition. Living together, their different attitudes spark playful banter.At some point, misfortune befalls the watchman and, due to a series of chance events, he stumbles into a crime. Striking upon a seemingly low-risk way to make good money, and discovering a new sense of self-confidence, he tries to entice the others to join him in a series of such crimes. Cat and mouse games ensue between the three as personalities change, but events soon spiral out of control, leading them in a direction none of them had wanted to take…
Featuring a talented ensemble cast, Barah Aana is based on an original script.
The running time is 97 minutes.