Children abandon their parents as they grow older — this harsh reality has often transpired on the silver screen by several filmmakers over decades. What makes directors Jaspal Singh Sandhu and Rajeev Barnwal’s Vadh different is when the parents — Sanjay Mishra and Neena Gupta — take matters into their own hands.
Written and directed by Sandhu and Barnwal, the film is presented by Luv Films’ Luv Ranjan and Ankur Garg and will be released in theatres on 9 December.
The crime drama has brought the two veterans — Neena Gupta and Sanjay Mishra — together for the first time. Gupta, a senior to Mishra, who is from the National School of Drama, cites the desire to collaborate with the latter as the driving force behind doing a film like Vadh.
Also read: Netflix’s Qala will break your heart. Irrfan’s son shares crackling chemistry with co-stars
Trauma of abandoned parents
The film revolves around retired school teacher Shambhunath Mishra (Sanjay Mishra) and his wife Manju Mishra (Neena Gupta) living in their 100-year-old dilapidated house in Madhya Pradesh. The overarching theme of Vadh arises from their harrowing journey of dealing with old age, loneliness, and grief as their son abandons them after moving to the US.
The two get by with whatever little money their son sends them after multiple reminders. Shambhunath tutors some students living in the neighbourhood, with a particular affection for a girl named Naina. At one point, Manju and Shambhunath also wonder how life would have fared better had they birthed a daughter instead of a son.
Also read: Netflix’s Khakee is no Gangs of Wasseypur but manages to be entertaining and engaging
Katl or Vadh?
Sandhu and Barnwal take the despair of old, abandoned parents to a different sphere as the old conflict creeps into their soulless lives.
Prajapati Pandey (Saurabh Sachdeva), the money lender Mishras had borrowed money from to send their son to the US, often pops up at their house to harass them. During one such meeting, things take an unexpected turn when Shambhunath ends up taking Pandey’s life after the latter poses a danger to someone he and his wife consider as their own child.
“Maine maara nahi hai usse, vadh kiya hai uska,” Shambhunath tells his wife at one point, insinuating that his act of killing Pandey was an act of virtue rather than a sin. The question remains, how far can you go to save someone who you love, and whether it is justified?
Whether the film absolves Mishras of ‘murder’ hangs in balance, owing to the shrewd police officer Shakti Singh (played by the fine performer, Manav Vij).
Sanjay Mishra plays Shambhunath with utmost conviction. He is probably one of the few actors who imbibe the plight of a common man effortlessly on screen. Gupta embodies the daily struggles of Manju with an equal measure of vulnerability and strength. She had once said that if the co-actor is good, her work becomes easier.
Sandhu and Barnwal lucked out in the casting department, as the two veteran actors shine through each scene, be it when they are breaking down or persevering through impossible situations.
Regardless of whether you enjoyed the trailer or have heard of the writer-director duo, just go for the brilliance that is Neena Gupta and Sanjay Mishra. You get two for the price of one, don’t miss it!
(Edited by Tarannum Khan)