Bakrid movie review: Vikranth shoulders a harmless film about animal love
A harmless film, a middling one that hits lower than it aspires to, due to inconsistencies
There is a certain charm about simple stories, about uncomplicated emotions that are universal. Bakrid, apparently the ‘first Indian camel-based film’, functions on one such emotion: Humanity. Rathinam (Vikranth), a fledgling farmer in Tamil Nadu, accidentally comes into possession of a camel calf. Charmed by the animal, Rathinam decides to keep him as a pet. With time, Rathinam realises that his humble home, despite all the affection showered, might not be the best place for a camel. To ensure the animal lives in his natural setting, he sets out on an unusual road trip to Rajasthan.
Director: Jagadeesan Subu
Cast: Vikranth, Vasundhara
The setting is delightful and so are the initial establishing sequences. For example, the camel is named Sara after Sarangan, Rathinam’s father—similar to how children are named in many families. The kind of attention Sara receives from the village is heartwarming. There are some lovely details in the writing that tell a lot about the kind of people Rathinam and Geetha are. Before deciding to take Sara home, Rathinam first makes a call to Geetha (Vasundhara), his wife, to check if she is okay with it. He wins a share of his ancestral land from his brother, only to get back to agriculture, the old-school way. Rathinam, Geetha and their child Vasuki, all feel real, thanks to how rooted they are.
Where the film falters is in failing to give us fulfilling pay-offs. Vasuki, their child, is fond of Lays. While Rathinam buys it for her, he also buys a bubble-blower and distracts her with it while Geetha takes away the Lays packet and hides it. The lead-up is beautiful. But in the end, all we see are several Lays packets in a carton. Was it just a ploy not to feed their daughter junk food? Or was it a sign of their economic distress? The writing also becomes convenient at places. Rathnam claims Sara won’t budge an inch without him. However, there is no sign of a struggle whenever it is dragged away by someone else.
Bakrid also fails to ask tough questions. The story begins when someone brings in camels for sacrificing, an illegal act. The film also does not seem to have any stand when it comes to meat-eating. There are Gau rakshaks in the film and the police admit to cowering under their power. These just become threads that Bakrid touches in passing. In a way, the film is a lot like its protagonist, who doesn’t want to antagonise anybody.
There is quite a bit of empathy in this film’s universe. Rathinam’s brother, who fought against him to sell the land, ends up taking care of the fields when Rathinam leaves with Sara. When Rathinam is lost, a Tamil-speaking foreigner pops up to help him through. People who were out to deceive him, end up helping him. As they say, one realises the value of shelter, only when you feel the heat of the sun. While I liked the fact that the film doesn’t have a villain, Rathinam’s struggle finds no defined space from which to really hit us hard. Vikranth and Vasundhara, however, try hard and deliver earnest performances.
Bakrid is a harmless film, a middling one that hits lower than it aspires to, due to inconsistencies. The film wants us to tear up when Rathinam finally realises that Sara is safest with him around. All I could muster was a hint of a smile.