MILESTONE (MEEL PATTHAR) (YOL YORGORNU)
(director/writer: Ivan Ayr; screenwriters: Neel Mani Kant; cinematographer: Angello Faccini; editor: Ivan Ayr; music: Gautam Nair; cast:Lakshvir Saran (Pash),Pavitra Mattoo (Kashmiri Neighbor), Suvinder Vicky (Ghalib); Runtime: 98; MPAA Rating: NR; producer;Kimsi Singh: Netflix; 2020–India-in Hindi, Kashmiri, Punjabi, with English subtitles)
“An affecting but limited drama on dealing with the hurdles placed on you as you move on in life.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Indian director-writer Ivan Ayr (“Soni”) scores an affecting but limited drama on dealing with the hurdles placed on you as you move on in life. Through its sensitive and lyrical portrait of an aging (fifty-something), laconic and brooding nice guy truck driver, Ghalib (Suvinder Vicky), it explores such things as aging, poverty, life’s futility, matters of good and bad luck, and how fleeting is life.
The trucker in question is a loner who came from a rural Punjab village but now lives in the big city of New Delhi, whose whole life has been built around his job (he takes “double-duty,” where he works day and night). The milestone of the title refers to the 500,000 kilometers mark his truck has been through on the job, which is a company record. He’s always on the road, and even met his wife on the road. She has recently died, as their marriage was going through some tough times, causing a separation, because he’s hardly ever home.
At work, the union laborers strike and the aging trucker is forced to load and unload his trucks. Not physically up to such hard work, he sprains his back. He’s also forced to train a young intern driver, Pash (Lakshvir Saran), even if the innocent kid will probably replace him. The filmmaker conveys that to the trucking company the trucker is valued only as long as he performs, when he can’t he has no more value and can be discarded like yesterday’s garbage despite his past service.
It’s an arthouse indie film, filled with a bleak atmosphere and a stark mood. It points out that one can still have a resiliency for life in such a dark setting and there will be a rainbow at the end of the journey if you stay strong. The drama can easily strike an accord with Americans, sharing the same concerns about their future.
Vicky dominates the screen, as it’s almost a one-man show. Thankfully he does a fine job, in a film that stays on message when its stark, but loses its way somewhat when it becomes more expansive and goes off the main highway.
REVIEWED ON 7/7/2021 GRADE: B