Critic’s Rating : 3.0 / 5
Mere Desh Ki Dharti Movie Review : The drama’s watchable but could have stood on sturdier grounds
REVIEW: ‘Mere Desh Ki Dharti’ explores the issue of farmer debts and suicides and much more. Ajay and Sameer are two engineers from the city with similar problems. While Ajay aspires to have his own start-up but faces setbacks, Sameer slogs it off to get a promotion to ask for his rich girlfriend’s hand in marriage. But Ajay’s start-up dream comes crashing down, loses his job and is thrown out by his father. Sameer is passed on for the promotion, quits the job, and cannot face his girlfriend or her dad. Disillusioned and dejected, they decide to die by suicide, though not in the chaos of the city but in a village so that everyone thinks they have run away and won’t look for them.
They reach Salamatpur in Madhya Pradesh and what begins is a series of cliched anecdotes where poor villagers are generous to a fault and peculiar in equal measures–garishly dressed singers, an Elvis Presley lookalike at a village fair, and a senile daadi with a scathing tongue. Scratch the surface of the lively milieu, and there’s the darkness of farmer suicides. The duo wants to right the wrongs but stirs up the hornet’s nest with the local bank manager who gets back at them by punishing the farmers and asking them to clear their debts within six months or surrender their lands. The upset folk wants to throw the guys out, but Ajay believes they can get out of their misery if they work as a unit.
The movie starts off on a pumped-up note and has a steady string of funny sequences including the two heroes’ misadventures with tough dads, cheating clients, loan sharks and whatnot. The second half is fun till one gets a glimpse of the typical over-the-top bumpkins and singing and dancing.
Enter farmer suicides and it gets on a shaky ground. The movie wants to tug at the audiences’ hearts but ends up a tad soppy in some instances. The movie’s runtime at 110 minutes should mean the screenplay is taut but it gets a bit drab and things seem a bit half-baked, rushed and too convenient–the abrupt change of heart that the heroine’s (Anupriya Goenka) opportunistic and money-minded father has, making a drone and pesticide sprinkler from scrap because engineers, to name a few.
The film’s strongest point is its actors–lead and supporting. While Divyendu Sharma shines in his performance as the impulsive and hot-headed happy camper with a never-give-up attitude, Anant Vidhaat Sharma as the more pessimistic and serious Sameer holds his ground. Anupriya is pleasant, but it’s Inaamulhaq (Pappan Khan) who deserves a special mention as the oddball banjo party guy and shayar who holds everything together. Bijendra Kala as Dubey Ji is great, too.
Faraz Haider’s direction is satisfactory, but the screenplay had much to be desired. Piyush Mishra’s dialogues stand out in many scenes, especially the small-town parts. It’s a watchable fare if you do not deep dive into the multi-layered issues plaguing the farmers of the country and only view it for the two friends’ journey from being urban losers to rural heroes.