7.3/10
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Well Done Abba! (2009)

A mild mannered chauffeur finds that the government in his parched village is giving loans to dig one's own well. After fudged photographs and bribes, he has no loan amount left to build his well. Aggrieved, he protests by abjuring water.

Director:

Shyam Benegal

Writers:

Jayant Kripalani (screenplay), Sanjeev (based on a short story by) | 2 more credits »
Reviews
1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Boman Irani ... Armaan Ali / Rehman Ali
Minissha Lamba ... Muskan Ali
Sammir Dattani ... Arif Ali
Ila Arun ... Salma Ali
Ravi Kishan ... Vikas Jha - Sub engineer
Sonali Kulkarni ... Malti - Jha's wife
Rajit Kapoor ... Srikant Reddy - Police inspector (as Rajit Kapur)
Ravi Jhankal ... Rustam - Police constable
Yashpal Sharma ... Ramiyya - Police constable
Rajendra Gupta ... Irrigation Minister - Mantri Garu
Rahul Singh ... Rohan Kapoor
Salim Ghouse ... Janardhan Reddy
Satish Sharma ... Raghav Reddy - Photographer
Lalit Tiwari Lalit Tiwari ... Meherban Ali - Arif's father
Anaitha Nair ... Sakina
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Storyline

This is the story of Armaan Ali, a driver working for a senior executive in Mumbai. He takes a month's leave to find a husband for his teenage daughter, who lives near Hyderabad. When he is delayed and returns to work after three months, his employer threatens to sack him. But he is persuaded to listen to the reason for Armaan Ali's delay. The story he relates is delightful, hilarious -- and poignant. Written by DDA PR

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

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Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

India

Language:

Hindi

Release Date:

26 March 2010 (India) See more »

Also Known As:

Abba Ka Kuan See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This movie won the 2009 National Film Award for Best Film on Social Issues. It is the remake of the 2007 Marathi film, Jau Tithe Khau. It was based on three short stories: Narsaiyyan Ki Bavdi by Jeelani Bano, Phulwa Ka Pul by Sanjeev and Still Waters by Jayant Kripalani. See more »

Soundtracks

Sandesa Sandesa Hawa Mein
Written by Swanand Kirkire
Composed by Shantanu Moitra
Performed by Shreya Ghoshal and Rupankar
Courtesy of Super Cassettes Industries Limited (T-Series)
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User Reviews

 
Not everyone's cup of tea but indeed a tasty one.
27 March 2010 | by bobbysingSee all my reviews

"Well Done Abba", the latest offering from Shyam Benegal is strictly made on the similar lines of his previous "Welcome to Sajjanpur", but tries to tackle too many important issues in only one project. With a feeble basic story line, the movie tries to convey almost all the major problems faced by the rural areas still fighting for their existence in an otherwise developed country. It majorly talks about a less educated village person who wishes to have his own well in front of his house as per the New Government Policy of that region. The viewer is made familiar with all the protocol problems he has to face while interacting with the government officials for getting the job done. Along with that the director tries to showcase several sensitive issues such as human labour, illiteracy, girl education in villages, selling of young girls to Sheikhs, status of women in Indian rural politics, corruption in Public Distribution System and many more in a single movie which at times seems to be over lengthy and un-required at places.

The long duration of the movie, its slow pace and the consistent Hyderabadi lingo used throughout the movie are the other few things which go against the movie and reduce its chances to win over the common man entering the theater purely for his entertainment.

But for lovers of off-beat subjects and fans of Shyam Benegal kind of cinema, "Well Done Abba" is another soft gem from the master film-maker with an important message for the society. Interestingly, the movie starts very slowly and keeps on growing on the viewers mind at its own pace. You need to have patience to sit through its first half as it's only towards the intermission and post interval that you get more engrossed into the subject and start enjoying it with a more realistic feel. However there are certain sequences which go over the top like writing a report against a lost well, a police officer with no major case to work on, an over sexual government official and a marriage song coming just before the movie ends. Some of these sequences should have been easily edited out in order to give a more crispier product to the viewers, because ideally a project based on rural settings with a social message should only be around 2 hours of duration to leave an impact.

Apart from these few hic-ups, "Well Done Abba" has some great performance worth watching. The best act comes from Boman Irani, as Abba who is simply superb in his very subtle portrayal of the character. Never in the movie, he reacts in anger to the tough situations faced in the government offices. On the contrary his innocent responses towards the corrupt officials happen to be the main highlight of the movie. For instance, just look out Boman's reaction in the climax, when he comes to know that the boy he has chosen for his girl is an orphan without any religion. Moreover, Boman performs a double role in the movie of two real brothers with great conviction. It's really commendable for a person to achieve such heights in a profession which he opted for only after the age of 40. Unarguably it's one of the finest performance of Boman till date.

Minnisha Lamba is another surprise package of the movie. She completely transforms herself into her on screen character and excels. Out of the rest, Samir Dattani, Ravi Kishen and Rajendra Gupta have performed excellently. But I really felt that the Ravi Kishen plot of the movie should have been treated more gracefully on the screen. Shantanu Moitra's musical score is fine but strangely there is very minimum use of Indian instruments in the songs set in the rural areas, particularly the marriage song towards the end.

Adapted from three different sources, "Narsaiyyan Ki Bavdi' by Jeelani Bano, "Phulwa Ka Pul" by Sanjeev and "Still Waters" by Jayant Kriplani, "Well Done Abba" has surely got the much acclaimed Benegal kind of treatment all over. It also reminds you of the famous T.V. serial "Office Office" in which Pankaj Kapoor played a similar kind of character quite close to that of "Abba". Regarding the star-cast of the movie, I was really surprised by the minuscule roles given to the two favourite actors of the director in the industry. Using almost the same team of actors since his "Suraj Ka Satwan Ghoda", this time the director gives very less importance to both Ila Arun and Rajit Kapoor who have been part of the director's every major product since the 90s. Along with them, another talented actress, Sonali Kulkarni is also simply wasted in a silly kind of role of a newly married lady.

In the end, I would surely like to add that "Well Done Abba" is apparently not everyone's cup of tea. But you may start liking the taste, if you keep sipping the tea with patience. And for all of the readers who haven't seen the other world famous gems of the master film-maker…… This is not one of Benegal's finest works, as he is on the path of trying new styles of story-telling with the changing times. So don't form any opinion about him by just watching some of his recent works.

Shyam Benegal has got loads of text book material on film-making stuffed in his rich movies repertoire of the past. Hence start exploring NOW!


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