Abhay Deol is carving a niche for himself in alternative cinema. The actor looks content in the character he portrays and is making this space entirely his own. In the roles he chooses, he gets to portray a myriad of emotions, thus testing his acting skills to the limit. ROAD, MOVIE is all about Deol and his growth as an actor. It's also about Director Dev Benegal's solid theatre background exploding on the big screen.
And though the film engages you, taking you on a journey with Deol and the three people he picks up along the way, it's not very clear why he is in search of water. Bored of his dad's hair oil business, Vishnu (Abhay Deol) tries to seek a way out. Luck beckons when he gets to drive an old truck, an antique Chevy, across the desert, to the sea where it has been sold to a local museum.
First stop, at a deserted road, he pick up boy serving tea (Mohammed Faizal Usmani). Usmani is a raw talent that keeps you in splits. Next follows Satish Kaushik who comes in to help repair the truck, which has now broken down. And somewhere along the way, a gypsy woman (Tannishtha Chatterjee) hops into their battered truck. These four characters engage you on this journey.
It's a film purely for the festival circuit, which has to be lauded for its execution, shooting in dry, parched locations, using a rickety truck as a prop that propels you and keeps you engrossed in what lies ahead. And what lies ahead are corrupt cops and the water mafia. Their ticket to freedom is the old projector that lies in the back of the truck, old films and two cases of Vishnu's dad's hair oil that are then exchanged for galloons of water.
Apart from Abhay Deol, the young lad, Usmani makes a solid impact. Even though Tannishtha joins the party towards the fag end, she does manage to engage with her role. But it is Satish Kaushik as the unkempt genius mechanic that gets your full attention. A serious contender for the Critic's Award for the best supporting actor.
ROAD begins well, but then keeps you guessing as to what the movie is really all about? It does defy logic but what sets it apart is the execution and performances. Special mention to the cinematography and background.