Some of the films are made with a social message and stay on to be like that while turning out to be documentaries. There are some other films, like CHAK DE INDIA, which again convey a message but stay on to be out and out commercial flicks. And then there are some films which take the middle route. NANHE JAISALMER is one of them.
It is an excellent act by Dwij Yadav (who plays Nanhe) and a natural performance by Bobby Deol that make you sit through those 1 hour 45 minutes. There are speed breakers though (read: all the songs, except for the title song 'Nanhe Yaar') which makes one go for that popcorn break with the biggest culprit being 'Ranjhana', the poorest of all. In fact the choreography and picturisation of the song is so weak that it makes one of those television talent hunt performances appear far more polished!
Coming back to the film, Nanhe is a lovable character from the word Go. As a camel boy who takes tourists for a 'safari' in Jaisalmer, his character is far mature for his age (without resorting to being annoying, thankfully), knows his weaknesses (he wishes to grow old soon to take on the baddies), doesn't want to study because he is earning money anyways, eats 'gutkha', shares a lovely relationship with his elder sister and last but not the least simply loves his 'dost' - Bobby Deol, the actor, whom he has loved ever since he had paid a visit to the town when Nanhe was just four years of age.
Bobby Deol does pay a visit again and Nanhe's life is never the same again. He starts realizing the value of education, knocks off his 'guthkha' eating ways, takes on the baddy safari rival with his mind rather than fist and learns the ways of living a life with single minded determination. But was Bobby really the Bobby that he had always imagined over the years?
Some of the scenes in the film which are truly heartwarming are the ones when Nanhe realizes that his 'dost' is visiting Jaisalmer. Running around the streets with a newspaper in his hand is a scene which would be remembered for some time. The background score only helps the scene elevate not just in this instance but throughout the film.
Also, the scene when he makes his sister read out the newspaper throughout the evening has been shot beautifully whereas the camaraderie that he shares with the elder gentry in the town (Sharat Saxena, Vivek Shauq, Rajesh Vivek) is handled with sensitivity. Note the sequences when he first reprimands them all to change their ways when they come face to face with Bobby, only to repent it later. Well shot.
However, it is his scenes with Bobby which stand out most. Whether they are his meetings next to the lake or his home, they are done beautifully. The best is reserved for the climax though when the truth is revealed. The dramatic build up to the situation is well handled with just the right justification of sequences from start to the finish.
Note the way in which Nanhe realizes how the situations in his real life had converged with his imagination to show him the way of living life differently. Just the right and a practical finale for a subject like this though one tends to wonder if a small kid like him could have deciphered the entire sequence of events and subsequently adjusted to it so easily?
Though the film revolves around Dwij and Bobby, others like the girl who plays Dwij's sister, Prateeksha Lonkar (Dwij's mother), Sharat Saxena (in very good form), Vivek Shauq (thankfully controlled), Beena Kak (town MLA) and Vatsal Seth (in a small role as a grown up Nanhe) do well too. Film's cinematography is quite good with a consistently natural desert texture to the film. Background music is strength while Himesh Reshammiya's soundtrack is a weakness.
NANHE JAISALMER is a subject that has it's limitations; someth