Relationships – Cross Generational seen through the medium of celluloid

By April 13, 2019 View Point

Relationships – Cross Generational seen through the medium of celluloid
SV Prasad, Chairman RetyrSmart Advisory

Child & Parent, Child & Grand Parent, Parent & Child

Let me start with a confession. I am a movie buff and like to see one, if not two movies every week.

Among the movies I saw recently, in no particular order, Karwaan, Searching and The Post left a lasting impression.

Karwaan guzar gaya, gubaar dekhte rahe…the immortal lines penned by Kavi Neeraj for the 1965 classic song in Nai Umar Ki Nai Fasal, sung by the one and only Mohammed Rafi and composed by none other than Roshansaab. All of them are now with our Maker, the Lord Almighty. However, their singing, lyrics, music et al, so immortal that they will always be there with all of us.

The reason I started with this rather lengthy introduction to the movie Karwaan is like what the great Kavi Neeraj wrote, the movie Karwaan got over, yet I stood, soaked in the “gold” dust (gubar) of emotions left in its trail.

Karwaan wonderfully explores the relationship of a son and his father, a daughter as well her daughter with their mother/grandmother and another son with his mother and father! Sounds a bit confusing? not really!

Kerala’s great actor Mamooty’s son, an enormously talented Dulquer Salman (DQ for short) is the son who has a troubled, almost non-existent relationship with his father Akash Khurana. Father wants him to have a steady “IT” job while DQ is more interested in photography, painting etc. And the father seems to have prevailed.

On the other hand, the mother, daughter duo of Amla (yes of Pushpak fame, the silent film in which she acted with Kamal Hasan) and Mithila Palkar (a pleasant, surprise packet) have a wonderful relationship with Beena (Pradeep Kumar’s daughter who acted as heroine opposite Anil Kapoor in perhaps their first film!). Beena is Amla’s screen mother.

And the one and only Irrfan Khan has a troubled relationship with both his parents! His dad for the violence he inflicts on Irrfan’s mom and mom for resigning to her fate.

The movie starts with the quiet Akash Khurana and the impossibly talkative Beena finding themselves in a bus, with the same agency, travelling together for the Char Dham Yatra.

Please do not worry. I will not spoil the fun for you and only giving you my interpretation of some of the layers of this lovely film. The idea is to whet your appetite so that you go and watch the movie.

The typical paths cross and Akash Khurana’s things land up with Amla in Kerala and Beena’s with DQ in Bangalore. Amla sweet talks DQ to bring it over “half way” to Ooty where her daughter Mithila is studying. DQ convinces his friend Irrfan Khan to take DQ on this journey in Irrfan’s beat up van. Amla is to meet them there and then exchange their respective parcels. But she is not able to make the journey due to her dodgy health. Incredibly, she convinces DQ to pick up her daughter Mithila from Boarding School/College in Ooty and come over to her place in Kerala and do the exchange.

At this point, the movie just takes off. The three, seemingly totally incompatible people bond on this journey, which in many ways is epic and life changing for all the three of them. In the process, DQ and Irrfan reconcile their respective differences with their mother and parents, respectively, without actually meeting them! And the young girl Mithila and at the end her mother Amla act as catalysts by the way they go about their lives without forcing their point of view in any way. DQ appreciates his father’s anxieties and point of view and Irrfan responds in his own inimitable way.

Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala country side are photographed beautifully, perhaps never as good before.

Do go and see this wonderful movie which is still running in theaters by perhaps sheer word of mouth. This “Karwaan” will hopefully encourage you to commence the journey you will have to traverse to find and appreciate the depth and true meaning of your relationships with your children, grandchildren, parents, wife, children, siblings etc.


The English Movie Searching is a thriller shot in a very, very different way. It is unlike Karwaan in many respects. As the theme of this write up is “Relationships”, this focuses on a father’s relationship with his teenage daughter.

First the presentation style – it’s like you are watching a video on your computer, lap top, ipad, phone etc., whilst simultaneously browsing through your emails, Face Book, other social media sites all relevant in the context of the film.

The father here finds his daughter missing. She calls him up late at night the previous day but he had unfortunately gone off to sleep. In the morning, the father realises that she seems to have disappeared. Right in the beginning, they inform the viewers that the girl’s mother had died of cancer when the child was very young.

And over the years, without really realizing, the father and daughter have slowly drifted apart. Ironically, in spite of the various social media like Face Book, Instagram, Twitter etc., what the movie subtly shows is the loneliness among most, if not all of us, with very few having meaningful relationships with anyone. This is the unfortunate side effect of the digital era where everyone is so, so engrossed with their mobile, computer etc and the various social media making them feel they are in touch with various people but unfortunately at a very, very superficial level.

The father gradually realizes that he does not really know his daughter. When the Police as well his brother query about the missing girl’s friends etc., he realizes to his horror that he pretty much knows no one.

And this is where he has to plough through his daughter’s email, Face Book and other social media accounts to help the Police with whatever possible clues.

In the process, he gets to know a bit more of his daughter, her friends, teachers etc and pieces together as much information as possible about her and her last seen whereabouts.

While Karwaan explores relationships from the child’s point of view with the parent, here, it is from the point of view of the parent vis-a-vis the child.

Ironically, the girl is willing to share and confide about her feelings to some extent with her uncle (her father’s brother) and not so much with her father. Her uncle appears to accept her as she is without getting emotional in any way, apart from of course not being judgmental. He is able to for instance appreciate her aversion to pursue piano, even though she appears to be good at it, as it brings back rather painful memories of her late mother.

What is notable is the father’s fierce determination to find his daughter and not leaving any stone unturned. In fact, he appears to be more on the ball than even the Police Officer which is shown in a convincing manner. It also shows his immense love for his daughter.

Here too, I have not spoilt the fun for any of you who would like to watch the movie. Just bringing out certain nuances.

Do watch both the films and The Post too which has two great actors – Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks. But that review is for another day! .

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