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Bipin Nadkarni’s film is a simplistic take on servitude that feels out of place beyond Sharib Hashmi’s classy performance

Based on the 1891 short story by Rabindranath Tagore, follows life of a caretaker whose life is disturbed due to a single act of carelessness.

Sharad Kelkar, who was last seen as a transgender person in Laxmii, is all set to feature in an entirely different role in Bipin Nadkarni’s ZEE5 film Darbaan. Here, he plays the good-hearted Anukool who forms a strong bond with his caretaker Raicharan (Sharib Hashmi).

The film focuses on their friendship which stays unaffected by their social status and caste.

“Darbaan is a very different film from whatever suspense thrillers you have been watching these days. It can be watched with family. Bipin has beautifully portrayed human emotions here. Sharib Hashmi, who is 40, has played the role of a 60-year-old man and has done full justice to it,” says Kelkar as he talks about Darbaan.

STORY: A heart-warming tale of love, redemption and the faithful bond between a caretaker and his master.

REVIEW: ‘Darbaan’ is an adaptation of a 1918 short story ‘Khokababur Pratyabartan’ written by the legendary Rabindranath Tagore. It tells the story of the inseparable bond between a master and his caretaker.

Set in Dhanbad’s Jharia village, a coal mine owner Naren Tripathi’s (Harsh Chhaya) son Anukul aka Anu shares a special relationship with their most trusted manservant Raicharan aka Raichu (Sharib Hashmi).

The film takes one back to 1971, the year India’s coal mines were nationalised. Vastly affected by that, Naren suffers a loss of wealth and has to leave his town and all the domestic help he had. The world of Raichu used to begin and end with Anu but they were separated in such difficult times.

Many years later, Anukul (Sharad Kelkar), now all grown up and with a family of his own, rehires Raicharan to take care of his son, Siddhu.

The always-happy-to-help Raicharan is back on duty, which leaves his better half Bhuri (Rasika Dugal) neglected once again. However, an unfortunate incident changes the entire equation: Raicharan is blamed when Anukul and his wife Charul (Flora Saini) lose their son.

After winning National Award for directing Marathi films (like ‘Uttarayan’ and ‘Aevdhese Abhaal’), Bipin Nadkarni has made his directorial debut in Hindi cinema with ‘Darbaan’.

Along with Rakesh Jadhav and Radhika Anand, Nandkarni has co-written this film. Together, they prove that their comprehension of the idea of human stigma is outstanding. The screenplay turns out to be the biggest asset of this film and the sense of guilt haunting the prime character, Raicharan, is felt throughout.

Moreover, Annu Kapoor’s voiceover adds value to this endearing story of a relationship that is more like an obsession between Raicharan with his Chote Sahab. Songs—Behti Si’, ‘Khushmizaaj’ and ‘Rang Bhariya’—are melodious.

Additionally, the background score by Rohhan Patel goes well with the narrative. With all the elements intact, its merely the pace of the film that is disappointing.

Darbaan is based on Rabindranath Tagore’s popular story of a loyal servant who does the unthinkable act of sacrificing his son in order to keep his master’s family happy.

Marathi filmmaker Bipin Nadkarni, who debuts in Hindi with Darbaan, adapts the story and adds his own narrative bits. The story begins in 1971 and is set in the backdrop of the then-Indira Gandhi-led government’s decision to nationalise coal mines.

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Naren Tripathi (Harsh Chhaya) and family live in a palatial house, and for Tripathi, his go-to man servant is Raicharan (Sharib). Raicharan arrived at the Tripathi’s as an infant and grew up taking care of Naren’s child, Anukul (Sharad Kelkar), forming a deep bond with the latter.

After the nationalisation process leaves the Tripathis out of business, they pack up and depart, leaving Raicharan without a master, who then goes onto live a monotonous life in his village with his wife Bhuri (Rasika Dugal).

When an all grown-up Anukul comes back and asks Raicharan to return to take care of his son, he doesn’t hesitate. But Raicharan loses the child one day, and who is feared dead. Accusations fly and Raicharan is forced to leave.

A few years after, Raicharan becomes a parent and he brings up his own child as though he was serving his master’s son. Eventually, consumed by guilt, he gives up his son to fill the void in his master’s family.

Language: Hindi

A National Award-winning Marathi director making a Hindi language film based on a short story by a Nobel Prize-winning Bengali litterateur – this is the sort of cultural co-mingling that India needs in these troubled times.

 Darbaan (Guard) is an adaptation of Rabindranath Tagore’s short story Khokababur Pratyabartan (Little Master’s Return) that was turned into an acclaimed 1960 Bengali film of the same name starring Uttam Kumar and Sumita Sanyal.

Taking on Kumar’s role of a faithful household worker is Sharib Hashmi in Darbaan

In 1971, the Indian government nationalised all coal mines. Hashmi plays Raicharan, who works as an attendant to Anukul, the only son of a mining magnate called Naren Tripathi (Harsh Chhaya) in Jharia in then-Bihar-now-Jharkhand’s Dhanbad district.


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