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Dattak – (The Adopted), Film Review

Pravin Sitaram

Starring: Rajat Kapoor, Anjaan Srivastav & A. K. Hangal
Director: Gul Bahar Singh
Producer: NFDC

A relatively unknown movie that was recommended to me by a friend. I don’t believe this movie had the fanfare release of a commercial Hindi flick. Sometimes, surprises come in the relatively unknown stuff and that is exactly what Dattak turned out to be.

The movie asks some very poignant and harsh questions about our generation, our responsibilities to our senior citizens and the changing face of India with respect to the troubles of the aged.

The movie begins with a very “Americanized” Sunil (Rajat Kapoor) returning to his native Calcutta to visit his father & family after almost 15 years. Sunil is married to an American woman, which is one of the main reasons for his estrangement with his father. When he arrives home, he finds his father’s house locked. His neighbor informs him that his father left over a year back and that no one knows about his whereabouts. That begins Sunil’s search for his father. He starts to search for his father by talking to people that he knew and people who were his dad’s close friends in his times of loneliness. His search intertwined with some well placed flash backs tells the story of Sunil and his relationship with his family.

To his credit, Gul Bahar Singh has a very good grasp of the medium and knows how to tell a story without straying from the main subject. There are subtle directorial touches that speak volumes of the plight of an old man in desperate need for company. The acting is understated. Anjaan Srivastav is extremely effective and so is A. K. Hangal. It was refreshing to see A. K. Hangal in a role that befits his caliber as an actor. We haven’t seen him act in a while. While the ending is just a bit clichéd, the movie does manage to raise quite a few issues related to the condition of the elderly in India. Definitely worth a watch.

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