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The Pool (I) (2007)

 -  Drama  -  January 2007 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 592 users   Metascore: 77/100
Reviews: 10 user | 37 critic | 19 from

A boy in abject poverty works in a hotel and becomes obsessed with a swimming pool in the opulent hills of Panjim, Goa, India. His life gets turned upside-down when he attempts to meet the mysterious family who lives at the house.



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1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »





Credited cast:
Nana Patekar ...
Venkatesh Chavan ...
Jhangir Badshah ...
Ayesha Mohan ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Krishna Appa ...
Chai stand owner
Ganga Chavan ...
Ganga - Venkatesh's sister
Parvati Chavan ...
Parvati - Venkatesh's sister
Somawa Chavan ...
Venkatesh's mom
Keshav Dalasi ...
Room boy
Sheikh Abdul Gaffar ...
Bag seller
Pandari Gosavi ...
New room boy
Mahesh Gowas ...
Boy in alley
Prakash Gowas ...
Laundry guy
Raghunath Gobind Kabadia ...
Guy at sign
Vikram Keni ...


Coming of age. Venkatesh is 18, illiterate; he cleans hotel rooms in Panjim, Goa, and sells plastic bags on the street with his 10-year-old partner, Jhangir, an enterprising orphan. He's fascinated by the swimming pool on a vacant estate, and when the owner shows up from Bombay with his teen daughter, Venkatesh watches them from a tree and follows the girl when she's out. He and Jhangir start a friendship with her. The father and daughter are at odds, hardly speaking; tragedy is in their past. Venkatesh helps the father in the garden; short, odd conversations evolve into a gruff offering of a job and schooling in Bombay. What will Venkatesh do with this opportunity? Written by <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




Unrated | See all certifications »


Official Sites:



Release Date:

January 2007 (USA)  »

Filming Locations:

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$7,736 (USA) (5 September 2008)


$94,901 (USA) (28 November 2008)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


When The Pool didn't get into the Directors' Fortnight at Cannes, which had been the plan, the director decided to re-edit the film. About 9 minutes was cut. See more »

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User Reviews

Extraordinary, One of the Best Films of '08
11 November 2008 | by (NYC) – See all my reviews

Well-respected documentarian Chris Smith proves himself a master of narrative form with this incredibly subtle and moving Hindi-language drama, shot in India. Along with Elite Squad, Edge of Heaven, Reprise, and Let the Right One In, "The Pool" is easily one of the best films of the year.

As a New York-based Indian-American filmmaker who grew up in Wisconsin and has shot fiction films in India, I was nonetheless skeptical about a Wisconsin-based documentarian, even one of Smith's stature, working from a Midwestern-set fictional short story reset in India. Western filmmakers tend to miss the subtleties that make India unique and exciting, choosing instead to exoticize India's most superficial differences, condemn its shortcomings, or talk vaguely about its 'contradictions' (when they mean "contrasts," revealing their ignorance of the same contrasts in any big city).

Smith doesn't fall into any of these pitfalls, and has created a work of lasting honesty and beauty. Watching it, it's hard to believe Smith is not only not Indian, but does not speak Hindi. I have been recommending the film to everyone I know, even more so on second viewing (at the South Asian International Film Festival, where it won top honors), once I could worry less about what was going to happen next and focus more on the incredibly nuanced script and acting, lush sound design, delightful score, and masterful framing and camera movement.

"The Pool" has the lyricism and humanism of Satyajit Ray, the simple strength and beauty of the great Italian neo-realists, and a great documentarian's eye for telling detail and feeling of captured reality.

I hope the film wins some year-end nominations and awards, followed by a wider re-release, because everyone who loves great cinema deserves to see "The Pool."

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