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"Road, Movie" Takes a Self-Discovery Trip Through Desolation

Road, Movie is an expression of director Dev Benegal's adulation for film. The inspiration was a personal experience he had watching people travel across vacant landscape to watch a movie. In Road, Movie the lead character, Vishnu (Abhay Deol), is a discontented salesman who jumps at an opportunity to escape the embarrassing family trade. Vishnu decides to drive his uncle's antique truck across the desert to a new owner waiting at a museum. Needing assistance with a truck prone to inopportune breakdowns, he reluctantly takes on three travelers — a pre-adolescent boy (Mohammed Faizal Usmani), a jolly and overweight mechanic (Satish Kaushik), and a Gypsy woman (Tannishtha Chatterjee). Impacted by his fellow drifters, who offer more interpersonal depth, Vishnu discovers that his road trip is much more of a rite of passage. The tedious task of traveling across dry, desolate terrain without water is somewhat salvaged after the characters learn that the truck houses a portable cinema. Despite the potentially exciting discovery, the story line quickly runs out of gas, contrary to the truck, which surprisingly never needs a fill-up even after several days of travel. But Benegal's moving camera shots beautifully capture a journey into self-discovery — one of surrendering puerile self-interests in exchange for love, patience, and acceptance. Jamie Long


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