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The Pool (I) (2007)

 -  Drama  -  January 2007 (USA)
7.1
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 610 users   Metascore: 77/100
Reviews: 10 user | 37 critic | 19 from Metacritic.com

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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Cast

Credited cast:
Nana Patekar ...
Nana
Venkatesh Chavan ...
Venkatesh
Jhangir Badshah ...
Jhangir
Ayesha Mohan ...
Ayesha
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 ...
Fisherman
Edit

Storyline

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 <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

January 2007 (USA)  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

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

Gross:

$94,901 (USA) (28 November 2008)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The makers did not intend the movie to be in Hindi. However, when they began casting, director Chris Smith claimed that most of the promising actors did not speak English. See more »

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User Reviews

 
A simple story about real people simply engaged in life
29 May 2011 | by (Vancouver, B.C.) – See all my reviews

Going for a swim in a swimming pool is an everyday occurrence for most young people. For eighteen-year old Venkatesh (Venkatesh Chavan), however, it represents a life of privilege to which he has no hopes of attaining. Poor and illiterate, Venkatesh is a tall, wiry young man who works as a roomboy making beds, cleaning rooms, and scrubbing toilets in a hotel in Panjim in the Indian State of Goa, a former Portuguese colony. His spare time is taken up, not with cricket matches or sailing, but with selling plastic bags on the streets with his eleven-year-old friend Jhangir (Jhangir Badshah) who has no parents and also cannot read or write. Based on co-screenwriter Randy Russell's short story set in Iowa City, Iowa and transported to India by director Chris Smith, The Pool is thoroughly without condescension or efforting at multicultural "sensitivity".

Reminiscent of the realism of the Italian masters and the quiet humanism of Satyajit Ray, Smith, a filmmaker from Milwaukee, best known for his 1999 documentary American Movie, uses mainly non-professional actors to tell a simple story about real people simply engaged in life. Many of the stories are taken directly from the boys' life and Smith wisely avoids imposing his preconceived notions of how life is there for them. That sense of balance and proportion is what gives The Pool a special resonance. Spoken in Hindi (a language Smith does not speak) with English subtitles, The Pool is rich in detail and feels completely natural, as if it is unfolding right before our eyes with the camera merely following the characters around to see what will happen next.

On one of his walks into the more affluent suburbs, Venkatesh climbs a hillside and sees a swimming pool in the backyard of a neighbor's villa and becomes obsessed with the idea of swimming in it. What especially interests him is the fact that no one ever seems to swim in it which he longs to do. Climbing onto a mango tree near the property to get a better view, Venkatesh thinks of different ways of getting into the pool and shrugs off Jahangir who tells him "The closest you're going to get to that pool is cleaning it." Venkatesh, however, makes friends with the residents of the villa – an almost silent upper class man from Mumbai (Nana Patekar) who offers him work in their garden. Soon he becomes interested in the man's snooty daughter Ayesha (Ayesha Mohan), whose urban sophistication would make her at home in New York or Chicago.

While the social and economic divide is too much to give Venkatesh much of a chance with Ayesha, they nevertheless develop a charming friendship and go on boat rides with Jahangir and visit an abandoned fort. When the three are just relaxing and being together, they are just kids enjoying themselves and there is no consciousness of class. The gap between them surfaces, however, when Ayesha refuses his offering of a cup of chai or some papadums at a vendor's stand. When the two boys bicker at the fort, Ayesha sullenly calls them children and stomps off. Eventually, Venkatesh is hired as a gardener by the owner who takes a paternal interest in him, leading to a surprising life altering choice and a new understanding of the world.


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