Haathi Mere Saathi
Onto the next release of weekend and last night I finished watching the new Hindi film Haathi Mere Saathi on Zee Cinema. By the time you would be reading my review, this film would have premiered on Eros Now as well. Do not mistake this with the film from the 1970s with the same name. This film was originally slated to release on 26th March 2021 but owing to the onset of the third wave, the release was pushed back. But the Telugu film(this is a trilingual) managed to release then. Any which way, the hindi one finally sees the light of the day, is it worth your time, stay tuned.
Story & Screenplay
Haathi Mere Saathi follows the story of encroachment of the forest land by corrupt authorities and how it impacts the elephants. And it is left to a group of locals, one of them featuring the Forestman of India to win it back for the elephants. The story is noble and relevant in today’s times. It is man who has frequently been encroaching forest land and destroying the natural habitat of several creatures. And so that has left many creatures to just die thereby disrupting the ecosystem which in turn would affect man as well. And it was a story that needed to be told. Unfortunately, the screenplay is a bit of a mixed bag! There are several portions particularly in the forest that are engagingto watch and interesting. But the part where the shine is taken off the drama is in certain overdramatized sequences. We all remember the film Sherni and how effectively it was able to convey its message. I just hoped that a simple premise could have been picked and the screenplay could have been written around it such that it is slightly more believable. The first half is still interesting but it is the second half that slackens its pace with some outrageous sequences that made little sense too. The emotional moments could have been executed better as well. While the film comes back on track towards the end, the uneven screenplay doesn’t manage to hold your attention throughout, rather just in parts!
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are alright but it either needed to be more subtle and less dramatic or more impactful. This was somewhere in between. The music is weak here and not upto the mark. The BGM is alright. But the film is technically weak. The dubbing is not in sync in many scenes, the VFX is ordinary and something that you cannot be proud of. The production value isn’t great either which is such a big put off! Director Prabu Solomon has done a decent job but his flaws stand out like a sore thumb. The direction lacks finesse and is more targetted towards the masses.
The performances are alright. Zoya Hussain ad Arvi does a good job in what turns out to be an underwritten character. Rajiv Kachroo as Rajiv will make you angry which means a job well done. Shriya Pilgaonkar as Vaishnavi is simply wasted. She has literally nothing to do with minimal dialogues. Pulkit Samrat as Shankar was the most conflicted character both onscreen and for the audience. Though he has a character arc but somehow his presence seemed forced. He still has done a decently good job but the way his character is penned, it seemed a bit odd. Rana Daggubati as Bandev does a terrific job. He has a good screen presence and he definitely commands your attention. A job well done.
Haathi Mere Saathi is a relevant story but a lost opportunity nevertheless. Available on Eros Now.