Rajat Kapoor's attempt to be the 'Anand' of today the 'Megha Dhaka Tara' amongst India's 'indie' helmers who draw inspirations from Ray, Ghatak, Mani Kaul, Shahani, Bergman, Basu Da, and all in popular 1984 series 'Hum Log' type settings in 'this lok' (read era) for a cinematic 'udaan' (height) in this film is so thoroughly mystifying that we wonder whether Mr. Kapoor himself knew what he was trying to say.
As nearly what we can make out or in a better way to say what we found after seeing 'Aankhon Dekhi' which is based on the adage of 'seeing is believing' is that Mr. Kapoor inks and claps a vivid comprehension of feelings and psychology of an ageing man Babuji (Sanjay Mishra) a man ka saacha and dil se baccha aam bujurg admi whose impulsive seriousness to a philosophy leads to humorous situations around his family and moohalla in Delhi (era not clear) where people don,t carry cell phones but are offered a salary of 20,000 per month to gamble by a local don...
Undeniably there is heart in Rajat Kapoor's endeavor Delhi is pitched perfect by Meenal Agarwal's production brilliance in those houses of crammed interiors, comfortable corners, those barber shops surrounded by local good for nothing gossipers all this paints the screen with a definite personality to this film which is now brimming with life as Babuji has just decided to judge things only after experiencing them a cinematic illuminati in the crowd of Friday box office haldi ghati is in store even when it is not ashamed to add the yore of those family emotions which never bores if done with simplicity and panache.
Rajat Kapoor also succeeds in creating real identifiable characters who can be anyone in your house, neighbourhood or Mohalla..
Be it Rita (Maya) who loves a Ajju (Namit Das), an LIC agent and a wannabe government employee. One day she gets caught dating Ajju and hell breaks loose at her house as Ajju is said to be a flirt. Rita family Bauji (Mishra - flawless performance) and uncle played by Rajat Kapoor (brilliant) decide to teach Ajju a lesson and on the day Ajju is held Bauji comes to know Ajju is certainly not what people around him say.. He is a nice guy.. Babuji perception of life changes now he wants to see and experience before believing in anything.. that leads to different humorous situations like leaving his travel agency job on not being able to tell the truth about his experience in Amsterdam to a client, losing his interest to perform his daily pooja, even leading to a zoo with his convoy of local admirers to experience the roar of a Lion to confirm that Lions roar - well he listens to the roar of a tiger and believes that another question and finds his pajamas wet..
Moments of sheer gem. So where is the problem..
Well it gets too stretched out to be believable and that defeats the theme. Rajat create brilliant characters for example Seema Pahwa as the typical Delhi housewife is outstanding, the local admirers of Babuji all are pitched perfect. Rajat establishes a flawless atmosphere (though the period is not defined) spurns magical moments of brotherly emotions, gets great lines inked for him by his writers but commits a suicide by being able to illuminate the character of Bauji from an impulsive old fool.. who shifts philosophies for no rhyme and reason. Suddenly Babuji stops talking and communicates with actions. Then he agrees to gamble for a monthly salary of Rs. 20,000 calling it a mathematics of probability for a local Goonda who runs a gambling joint from the same place Babuji rescued his own son..
After a point the narrative starts wandering forcing the film to miss the most important and the most significant point that could have pushed the movie's envelope much beyond. The audience is unmoved and inspired by Babuji who after providing the initial sunshine is now muddling the viewer who is forced to ask the question which every filmmaker hates the most - what was it all about?.
Still Ankhon Dekhi is jump from the routine Friday mill for its moments and Sanjay Mishra's flawless performance. But we wished Bauji had all the potential to be transformed into modern day 'Anand' if it could have glued to one track and not committed the suicide to fly without having the required wings of audience heart strings..
Ankho Dekhi is a sad miss we saw what the maker couldn,t see And what the maker saw we couldn,t see
Rating **and 1/2