6.8/10
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14 user 3 critic

Barah Aana (2009)

Three impoverished room-mates kidnap middle-classed men and demand small ransoms to improve their respective lifestyles.

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Cast

Cast overview:
...
Kedar Shukla
...
Yadav
...
Aman
...
Kate
...
Rani
Jayati Bhatia ...
Simone A. Mehta
Mahabanoo Mody-Kotwal ...
Cutlet Aunty
Benjamin Gilani ...
Anoop Mehta
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Storyline

Barah Aana is a comedy of real life, set in today's Mumbai. The story revolves around three unlikely friends: a driver (Shukla), a watchman (Yadav), and a waiter (Aman). The driver is an older man, stoic but dependable. The watchman, in his 30s, is a pushover at work but otherwise mischievous. The waiter is a young, swaggering chap, brimming with ambition. Living together, their differing attitudes spark playful banter. At some point, misfortune befalls the watchman and, due to a series of chance events, he stumbles into a crime. Striking upon a seemingly low-risk way to make good money, and discovering a new sense of self-confidence, he tries to entice the others to join him in a series of such crimes. Cat and mouse games ensue between the three as personalities change, but events soon spiral out of control, leading them in a direction none of them had wanted to take... Featuring a talented ensemble cast, Barah Aana is based on an original script. The running time is 97 minutes. Written by Anonymous

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Genres:

Comedy | Crime | Drama

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Release Date:

16 October 2009 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Twelve Annas  »

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Budget:

INR 40,000,000 (estimated)
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User Reviews

 
A charming tale, but short of great
22 March 2009 | by See all my reviews

Barah Anna is the story of three have-nots in Mumbai- A driver, abused and humiliated by employer's impatient wife (Naseeruddin Shah), a watchman who is pushover at work, and therefore in life (Vijay Raaz), and a waiter, young and ambitious (Arjun Mathur).

The three live together, and despite their different approaches to life, are friends. Each leads a difficult life, an exercise in futility in their dead-end blue-collar jobs. Shah silently suffers the humiliation, Raaz wants some money to send for his family for his unwell child's treatment, and Arjun wants to impress and get-together with a frequent foreigner customer (Violante Placido). One day Raaz stumbles on to a crime, making way for extraordinary circumstances.

Barah Aana is a study of the three characters, and the actors give an exemplary performance to establish the characters in flesh and blood. It tells you about how their characters and the motivations sway when they face challenging circumstances.

The first half hour establishes the characters, their approach to life and the motivations. But post-intermission it drags and the direction meanders as the drama unfolds. You wait for the end, looking at the watch, 20 minutes before it actually ends, which is sad since the movie is just 97 minutes long.

Watch the movie, however, for the exemplary performances. Naseeruddin Shah does not have any dialogues before the climax even though he has the maximum screen time. He carries it silently as only he can. Arjun Mathur, seen here after his Luck By Chance outing, impresses as the street-smart guy, with typical English and ambitions, without reducing the character to a mangled mess of caricature language and demeanors. Viloante Placido, as Arjun's object of affection, is subtle and composed. Tannistha Chatterjee, as the phone-booth owner, is believable and holds on to her own.

The star of the movie, however, is Vijay Raaz. He gets into the skin of Yadav, and comes out with such a brilliant performance that you'll feel pity that you don't see much of this immense talent. Watch him when he transitions from being a pushover, to be assertive enough to challenge his employer, and moving from bidi and matches to cigarettes and lighter.

Barah Aana is a short and simple story. It's a shame that debutant director Raja Menon does not deliver what he promises. The credible performances hold on this fort together, and make it a charming tale nonetheless.


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