Nanhe (Dwij Yadav) is a too-cute ten-year-old camel-safari operator in Jaisalmer who supposedly speaks four languages (although we never actually hear him speak anything but Hindi and English). Everyone in Jaisalmer loves him. The tourists love him. But he can’t read and write. Fortunately, many older, wiser people in Jaisalmer make him aware of how important literacy is. There are his neighbors and friends, including the actor I think of as that square-jawed, wild-eyed guy from Lagaan. (No disrespect; I love that guy.) There’s Nanhe’s sister, who knows how much illiteracy has cost their family—and who has therefore been diligent in her studies. There’s Madamji, who teaches the night school where little Nanhe is the only non-adult student.
|I heart Rajesh Vivek!|
If you were the kind of child who spent dreary middle-school years imagining that your favorite star would love you without question if s/he only knew you, then you may find that the Bobby-Nanhe relationship is exactly like the friendship you once dreamed of. But assuming that you’re no longer in middle school, you have probably recovered from your desire to be a celebrity’s bosom friend. (Anyway, I have.) So I have to say that l was relieved at the end to learn that [SPOILER SPOILER] Bobby has been a figment of little Nanhe’s imagination all along.
|Mick as he was|
[NOTE: In the U.S. we tend to assume that people of various generations will stick with their own kind except when forcibly thrown together at family or work functions, which is sad, actually. So I’m wondering if I have a built-in cultural bias against child/adult friendships and if the Nanhe/Bobby dost-fest may seem quite charming to those more organically connected to Indian culture—or those with a higher tolerance for child-star-adorable ten-year-olds. In all fairness, as a middle-aged U.S.-born person of lack of color who has been able to read and write since childhood, I am so not the target audience for this movie.]