Critic’s Rating : / 5
Matto Ki Saikil Movie Review : Prakash Jha’s raw performance makes up for the slow and uneventful film
Matto Ki Saikil Review: Prakash Jha has always aced depicting rustic flavour truthfully as a director or actor, but he outdoes himself as Matto Pal in this film. For the daily wage construction labourer, his bicycle is everything. For 20 years, he has ridden it to the city for work every day and struggles to keep it in working condition. With an ailing wife and two young daughters, Neeraj and Limka, to provide for, Matto cannot afford to buy a new bicycle and repairs his current on his own to save money. His world comes crashing when a tractor runs his bicycle over, damaging it beyond repair. What it entails for him, how he manages to buy a new cycle and whether it brings him better days form the rest of the narrative.
The film is just like village life — slow-paced, simple and uneventful. This saikil saga may not be of much consequence, but, it holds layers of harsh realities that the poor rural population must face — shoddy school system, lack of clean water, electricity and medical facilities, and how politicians take advantage of villagers’ naivete. The bicycle symbolises the cyclical poverty that Matto is stuck in.
M Gani’s direction is good, but the movie seems to stretch unnecessarily, and not much happens. The picturisation is on point, whether long shots of fields or narrow lanes of a hamlet or the overcrowded hospital. Prakash Jha and all the other actors get the twang and dialect perfectly but it also becomes tough to follow the dialogue and loses its charm after a point.
Prakash’s performance is the best part of the movie. Whether as a doting and helpless father, a pushover embarrassed of being weak, a disappointed man stuck in the loop of poverty and yet an optimist, he will win your heart. Aarohi Sharma as Matto’s elder daughter, Neeraj, Dimpy Mishra as his friend and a cycle repair shopowner lend able support and are convincing in their parts.
With no drastic conflict or turning point in the story, watch this one for Prakash Jha’s raw, honest and outstanding performance that will hook you and the realism of village life.