Review: Gali Guleiyan

So I just saw Dipesh Jain’s ‘Gali Guleiyan’ and I really really liked it. It is a simple story that we have seen many a time but impeccably presented in an assured manner. A gentle yet unnerving pace to the film gets you more and more engaged in the film with each passing frame.

I am not going to say anything about the story as I won’t be able to do it without spoiling it for you. There’s a great care and attention to details when it comes to presenting the film as much visually as possible. The cinematography by Kai Miedendorp is top notch.

The art of cinematography is not about light and shadows. It is always about shadows. How do you control it, where do you emphasise it, the density of it, and many more such decisions addressing shadows is what creates great cinematography. And these questions are key aspects of storytelling for this film. The beautiful choreography of actors moving in and out of shadows adds to the tragic mystery of this film.

The performances by all the actors [except by the child actor Om Singh] were quite great. There’s a scene where Manoj Bajpayee stitches his own wound. Notice his facial reactions to the pain he is inflicting on himself during that scene. You’ll know what great acting looks like.

But the real stars of the show are the editor Chris Witt and the sound editor & mixer Robert Kellough. There are moments where the sound takes over the narrative, even the visuals, to take you to a heightened subjectivity. Certain cuts and sound moments are created as a foreshadowing device, something that is traditionally accomplished with dialogues. This film is a great example of one of best use sound in the history of Hindi cinema. Unfortunately, it took a team from Hollywood to do that.

The only thing that holds it back is its basic story which, though impeccably presented, suffers from its historic familiarity. However, I would still urge you to go and watch it in theatres if it is running in your city. It is one of the best Hindi films of this year. And I would be now waiting for Dipesh Jain’s next film.

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