Welcome To Sajjanpur (2008) - Movie Review

Movie Name : Welcome To Sajjanpur

Movie Cast : Shreyas Talpade, Amrita Rao, Illa Arun, Divya Dutta and Ravi Kishan

Movie Director : Shyam Benegal

Music Director : Shantanu Moitra

Rating : 3 / 5

Welcome to Sajjanpur was previously titled Mahadev ka Sajjanpur because it is Mahadev’s (Shreyas Talpade) story of all the people residing in Sajjanpur.

Mahadev wants to be a writer but ends up writing emotional letters for all and sundry. He also reads the replies to those letters and sometimes messes around with the content, especially when it comes to the object of his affection, Kamala (Amrita Rao) whose husband Banshi is trying to eke out an existence in Mumbai. The two develop a special bond but Kamala is devoted to her husband and Mahadev realizes his modified letters have almost put Banshi’s life in danger. Meanwhile, his letters help Ramkumar (Kissen) express his love for widow Shobhaa (Rajeshwari) and Pannawali( Ila Arun) find a suitable groom for her rebellious daughter Vindhya (Divya Dutta). What’s more he also writes letters to the Collector on behalf of election candidates, local goon Ramsingh’s wife and eunuch Munnibai.

For the most part, the film is a laugh out loud comedy. I loved the chain-letter-with-death-threat scene wherein a villager is willing to spend 200 rupees on forwarding those letters, like the threatening emails and messages we forward. I also liked the street play scene, Ila Arun’s woes about her daughter’s wedding, the chase between the Subedar and Ramkumar, the letter reading between Kamala and Mahadev, the mobile chitti and Munnibai’s entry. The scene where she begs him to write a letter to the Collector for her protection is very touching and sensitive.

The sets, clothes and language lend authenticity to the film. The language is slightly hard to understand; you get the gist of the dialogue but not every line. There are plenty of jokes on politicians. On the whole Indian village life has been realistically portrayed, including politics, illiteracy, discrimination and superstition.

The entire cast has acted really well. Ravi Kissen and Rajeshwari make a mark in their cameo. Divya Dutta is extremely believable as the independent, scooter driving Vindhya. Yashpal Sharma adds another feather to his cap; you hate him as he commits crimes and walks away freely. As the crying-through-her-nose mother, Ila Arun is hilarious and excellent. Amrita Rao is sensitive and expresses through her eyes. She looks very pretty too. Shreyas Talpade is clearly the star of the show. He is adorable as the clever, fun loving, sometimes selfish yet caring Mahadev. This is his best performance since Iqbal. You salute Munnibai’s spirit.

In short, the movie is certainly worth a watch.