Critic’s Rating : 3.5 / 5
Dear Molly Movie Review : A beautiful father-daughter story of exploration
The film starts with young Mauli and her father Nachiket (Alok Rajwade) putting paper boats in the water (hence the name Hodi). The very next scene opens to a scenic waterbody in Sweden, maybe as a pointer to the journey of the boat. Mauli (debutant Gurbani Gill) is in Sweden to find her father. Travelling on a tight budget with nothing but her father’s letters for reference, Mauli has a tough time trying to find him. However, she meets people on the way who help her. Be it the old taxi driver who agrees to ferry her on half the fare, or the group of street musicians who help her reach one of her destinations, there are ample instances of strangers turning friends in the film. However, in the entire course of her journey, Mauli is calm and composed, not taking any misjudged step, but focusing only on her personal mission of finding her father.
This film was in the news a few years ago after it was screened for an Academy Awards’ jury, with the hope of making it to the main competition. However, for its theatrical release, there has been almost no publicity or buzz. It’s unfortunate because Hodi is a heartwarming film. Essentially a drama, the film also has a sense of mystery around its central characters. What leads Mauli to travel from India to Sweden? Why did Nachiket leave his home and loving family? Why did he not convey where he lived in Sweden? What happened to Mauli’s mother, Nachiket’s wife Anita (Mrinmayee Godbole)? Does Mauli succeed in finding Nachiket? These questions constantly pop in your mind while watching the film and Ahire effectively uses flashbacks to answer them.
Gurbani makes a noteworthy debut, portraying the turmoil of her character on the inside, yet maintaining a composed aura on the outside. Alok essays a complex character that is easily misunderstood and can be perceived in a negative light until his story is unearthed. Mrinmayee, despite having limited screen time, leaves a lasting impact. Her role is as complex as Alok’s, and could have been explored a little more by the makers. Among the supporting cast, Ashwini Giri, Christer Holmgren (as the taxi driver) and Lia Boysen (as the older Linda) stay with you for their portrayals.
Hodi unfolds amid philosophical musings of Nachiket, yet, it’s a film that would hold the attention of a regular viewer. Whether or not it will attract the audience to the cinema halls is a question that the makers are better equipped to answer, but it’s a film that deserves a watch.