Charmingly fresh as the early morning breeze, innocently loving as a child and nostalgically sweet and delicious as your grandmother’s pancakes, Eros Now and Aanand L Rai’s MERI NIMMO helmed by debutant Rahul Shanklya, is a rare ‘bioscope’ on first crush, love and heartbreak which is remarkably simple as a village life and carefully shy and aware to avoid itself in entering the lust and obsession zone.
Focusing entirely on the psyche of an eight year old Hemu (Karan Dave) who falls for a 24 year old Nimmo (Anjali Patil) in a village somewhere in the Hindi heartland probably Madhya Pradesh. Peeyush Shrivastava’s screenplay is a compelling and relatable understanding of the self assured Hemu – the only son of a single mother who has taken the care and compassion of his neighbor Nimmo to a higher level.
Writer Peeyus and director Shanklya masterly make the audience feel as a child for Hemu and think as an adult for Nimmo, the writer director make the crush pious and add sly and situational humour to the proceedings that somewhere comments on the prevailing traditions and customs. The innocence is well captured with heartfelt moments and amusingly pleasing juvenilism when Hemu’s friend eggs him to propose to Nimmo as soon as possible when the news of her marriage hits the village.
From riding bicycles, managing to run a moped, sketching diagram for presentations to turning mini Einstein by arranging a makeshift projector using bulbs and light reflection to experience the magic of SRK and Kajol’s DDLJ (obvious movie choice for multiple reasons), the kids of this village are smart dudes who somehow manage to get current updates on popular cinema as well.
As an art MERI NIMMO is a mix of all, realisms, escapisms and amazing influence of European/French cinema (the background score) with the central character that reminds of Satyajit Ray’s child from The APU TRIOLOGY. The way this bundle of talent Karan Dave who plays Hemu and Anjali Patil who plays Nimmo complement each other is magic. Anjali Patil’s pleasant charm that is constant throughout for the anxious Hemu who is eager to grow up and be with Nimmo for long is endearing.
Love is a regular theme/element in most of our cinema. Sometimes it’s a part, sometimes it’s a plot. Rarely, we see the first sign of love –crush/ a plot itself. Though first timer Rahul Shanklya didn’t wish to travel that deep the way Krzysztof Kieslowski's masterpiece A SHORT FILM ABOUT LOVE did in 1988.
Bollywood had had its shares in the wonderful ROCKFORD (1999) by Nagesh Kukunoor but it travelled those terrains of growing up, sex and physical attraction, to the pathetic remake of A SHORT FILM ABOUT LOVE – EK CHHOTISI LOVE STORY (2002).
Rahul Shanklya’s takes a simpler and pious look on innocence and first love experience through this pleasantly charming film which interestingly has ignored theatrical release and has opted for a digital exposure and is currently streaming on Eros Now.
Will this sweet innocent story of love travel into the interiors in places similar to the location where the movie is based, where sometimes a star studded full length Bollywood rom coms released in theaters has failed to do?. This will be seen in future but for those who understand love and love their childhood, MERI NIMMO leaves a charming reminder of your first crush/love that echoes with a chorus.