Woh Bhi Din The is dull fare despite a great core idea



Rohit Saraf and Adarsh Gourav in Woh Bhi Din The. Photo: Trailer Video Grab

Education, in its various aspects, has often been discussed in many movies in the last 15 years: we have had the classic 3 Idiots, Chhichhore, Hindi Medium, Angrezi Medium and more. Woh Bhi Din The is another addition to this list and features accomplished actors who have since grown up, as the film was delayed by something like a decade!

Made around 2013 with Rohit Saraf, Adarsh Gourav and Sanjana Singhi when they were far younger than now, it actually marked the debut of Sajid Ali, brother to Imtiaz Ali, as director. He also co-wrote the film with Saurabh Swamy. Those were the days when John Abraham was co-producing films with Shoojit Sircar (Vicky Donor, Madras Café) and this was also a film he co-produced.

The story revolves around Rahul Sinha (John  Abraham), now a celebrity photojournalist, who is invited by his Alma Mater in Jamshedpur for felicitation. On a trip around the institution later with his camera, he spots four boys awaiting punishment from the principal and befriends them, opening up about his life when he was no model person or student!

On this journey, he describes in detail his romantic interests, friendships, bonds with his family and all his foibles, idiosyncrasies, moods and misadventures. Sexual awakening (porn and ‘touches’ on body), exposure to vices, vicious classmates, understanding yet strict families—all these and more come in as Rahul exposes his whole life to the four young boys.

Messages come in, mostly subtle but a few forthright, and include homilies like ego versus friendship, how one builds and break relationships and the importamnce of schools in preparing students for the outside world. Adolescent and early adult issues like the thin line between dosti and mohabbat (love or even crush) and taking a girl out on a date are detailed.

On the face of it, all these are positive aspects of this film, which was probably in cold storage and would have remained so had not OTT come in. But having said that, debutant director Sajid Ali either does not realize (he has since directed the 2018 non-starter Laila Majnu and the web series Dr Arora) or is not very keen to capture audience interest.

A lot of sequences are extraneous, there was no real need of the town ruffian (Zeishan Quadri), and some other sequences important to the story and theme do look stretched. On the other hand, some sensitively handled parts include what happens when Rahul Sinha (played by Rohit Saraf in teenage)’s first crush, Shalini (Charu Bedi) steamrolls back into his life when  he is already in love with Milky (Sanjana Sanghi), or the way Rahul, quite immature, berates and alienates his best friend, Joy (Adarsh Gourav), and yet tries to warn him of danger later.

The sequence of Rahul with Milky’s father and his ‘confession’ sequence with the principal (Keval Arora) are other examples of well-handled sequences.

A major downer is the music. Heavily guitar-driven, it is eminently unmelodious and partly in English, with the lyrics in both languages being quite esoteric. Technically alright, the film has realistic lines, but after watching the entire movie (which drags frequently despite a runtime of only 126 minutes) one realizes that true depth is missing.

Rohit Saraf (who has an adult has already impressed me in Mismatched, Vikram Vedha and Ludo) is remarkably expressive in every move and shade as the very human, flawed and immature Rahul. As Joy, Adarsh Gourav, who recently impressed me in Kho Gaye Hum Kahaan, is perfectly cast and exudes the mix of naiveté and sharpness well. Sanjana Sanghi is okay as Milky, but I was impressed more by Charu Bedi, and her quirkily expressive eyes and tones in her brief appearance as Shalini. The actors playing Rahul’s and Milky’s fathers and Keval Arora as Principal Coelho are also good.

But the film could have been a lot better!

Rising Sun Films’ & JA Entertainment’s Woh Bhi Din The  Produced by: John Abraham, Shoojit Sircar, Ronnie Lahiri & Sheel Kumar Directed by: Sajid Ali Written by: Sajid Ali & Saurabh Swamy Music: Joi Barua  Starring: John Abraham, Rohit Saraf, Adarsh Gourav, Sanjana Singhi, Charu Bedi, Keval Arora, Zeishan Quadri, Gaurav Parajuli & others





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