The Blue Umbrella (2005) - Movie Review
National Award winning ‘The Blue Umbrella’ is Vishal Bharadwaj’s adaptation of a novella ‘Binya’s Blue Umbrella’ or 'The Blue Umbrella' by Ruskin Bond. A lesser known flick, the movie is a fascinating tale of a little girl Binya (Shreya Sharma), resident of a small village set in between snowy mountains of Himachal Pradesh.
Binya gains instant fame in her village when she trades her lucky charm, a bear claw necklace with a Japanese tourist for a beautiful Blue Umbrella. She merrily roams around the village showing off her new prized possession. Soon the umbrella grabs attention of many greedy eyes especially an envious lady who is desperate to own the umbrella and an irritable tea stall owner Nandkishore Khatri (Pankaj Kapur) who is willing to do whatever it takes to gain its possession.
One fine day, the mystical Umbrella goes missing and Binya’s heart breaks. She doubts the greedy tea stall owner for the theft and the story there-on is her journey in finding the umbrella.
Casting Pankaj Kapur as the deceitful shopkeeper was ‘Bang on’ and Kapur yet again proves that he is a versatile genius. The child artist Shreya was remarkable as the cute yet clever Binya.
The director rightly describes it as a ‘Children’s Film for adults’ as the film is not primarily as ‘children’s film’-ish as it seems at the sound of it. It is much mature in terms of its execution. A great deal of attention is paid to finer details like a perfect village setting, Himachali accent in the dialogues, typical village mindset and mannerisms of the characters; all distinctive of a small hillside village.
Vishal Bharadwaj is a proficient storyteller and the mere attempt to make a film out of such a simple story is worth appreciating. The movie lacks universal appeal as it targets only a smaller segment of cine-goers. Though a little slow in its pace, the movie is a delight to watch with its stunning visuals. The story carries a message and explores various human emotions - honesty, kindness, greed, hatred, sorrow, loss and forgiveness.