Saturday, 11 January 2014

Movie Review: Digant

Digant 
It is not always that one finds movies made in regional dialects. Hence, the 2012 Konkani movie "Digant" based on the Dhangar community is originally based on an adaptation by a story written by Prasad Lolayekar. 

The movie title, "Digant", translates to boundless in Konkani revolves around a man from the Dhangar or shepherd community who is content with his life. However, his seemingly ordinary life takes a turn when his son joins a school and grows to be an architect with an intent to settle down in the city. Movies with such storylines often tend to slip into a preachy mode. Issues such as identity or about the need to be in touch with one's roots are often raised through the medium of movies. Thankfully, Digant is a refreshing change and does not venture into that space. 

There is certainly no doubt that the definition for freedom for each individual is different yet the film tries to define the concept of freedom and stability at multiple levels. For the father, freedom is defined by the shepherd who is in sync with nature while for the son, it is a means to liberate himself from being a shepherd. For the builder, it is a means to hit back at his poverty. There is a dialogue in the movie in which the shepherd says that he has never really understood the meaning of freedom. The shepherds never settle at one place but still remain stable. For the shepherd, his forests mean freedom but they are also diminishing now. Philosophically, he points out that freedom survives only with the recognised and rewarded section of society. In a nutshell, the conflict between different characters lies in the difference between their value systems.

Shot over a period of 26 days with a modest budget of just Rs. 40 lakhs, the film brilliantly explores the conflict between father and son and the clash between their value systems and individual lifestyles and the growing divide between cities and villages. The Konkani movie "Digant" was Goa's official entry for the 43rd International Film Festival of India as also was an entry for the New Faces section of the Mumbai Academy of Moving Images (MAMI) Film Festival in 2012. For lovers of meaningful intellectual cinema, Digant is a must-watch movie.

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