Do Dooni Chaar, winner in the hearts department

When my American friends ask me about Bollywood, they remember the one or two movies they might have seen from the 8Os. I tell them, Bollywood has changed because India is changing. Today’s movies have little in common with those Westerners associate Bollywood with.  An entirely new India is emerging which people here in the US haven’t realized yet. Movies made today often illustrate the conflicts that arise when modernity clashes with the traditional. Do Dooni Char offers a window into the transition of the old and the new,  more materialistic, world and how families adapt to it.  It’s a social commentary. And in some ways,  it’s the new Satyajit Ray. Habib Faisal wrote a brilliant screenplay here.  Rishi Kapoor is the heart and soul of the film.

Do Dooni Char is the story of a typical Delhi middle-class family, the Duggals, who are struggling  not only to make ends meet but to adapt to the new consumer-friendly India. Rishi Kapoor plays the middle-aged Mr. Duggal, a math teacher who during his career has raised countless students who went on to earn high salaries but he himself has a hard time to cope with the ever rising costs of living. He is your typical Indian patriarch, whose supporting wife, played beautifully by Neetu Kapoor, does the bookkeeping in the family.  She could have had her own career, but Mr. Duggal wouldn’t want to hear of that. He doesn’t want his daughter to work in a call center to make some extra-money either. He has high aspirations for his teenage children.  He drives to school on his scooter, much to the embarrassment of his daughter, wouldn’t want to be caught dead by her classmates being seen catching a ride with him.  Mr. Duggal in an ideal world would be perfectly happy to continue riding his scooter for the rest of his life but lately he feels he deserves a break, a car.

The story that unfolds is touching and will break your heart and will make you laugh. If you want to know about today’s India, unabashed, this is the movie to watch.


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