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Nana Patekar in Subhash Jha's Yatra

There's an uneven quality to the narration, brought on partially by the proclivity to cram in a surplus of ideas on the moral and cultural downslide of a civilization that has lost its balls and bearings.

Stagnancy is the underlying idea governing Gautam Ghose's hazily mystical journey across a mind that sees only anarchy around itself. There're moments of self-defeating social comment... The sequence where Dashrath the writer imagines himself as suicidal farmer from Andhra hanging from a tree(farm fatale!) diminishes the scope of the characters and their canvas into an amateurish morality tale.

And yet for all its creative failings there's no denying the power and strength of Ghose's ideological comment. The last lap of the journey when the writer-protagonist vanishes from his social duties to spend time with the kothewali (transformed over a period of time into an item girl!) is like a cauldron of simmering ideas brought to a boil by a slow-burn.

A more pacy narrative and a less verbose style of presentation (the dialogues often border on pulpit polemics) would have gone a long way into making this journey more emblematic of the excursive enthusiasm of a creative mind than symptomatic of the malady that inflicts avant -garde filmmakers from the 1970s who haven't been able to make a smooth transition from anger and indignation to tolerance and introspection.

Yatra is Paar without the adventurous spirit or the metaphorical reverberations. Frigidity marks the rigidity of the creative artiste who dies in a kotha rather than at the doorstep of his family.
Devdas in a subversive mood?


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