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REVA (Gujarati) - A predictable yet meaningful, soothing film that makes a strong connect with the region and its audience aptly using some well-conceived songs. (Review By Bobby Sing)

15 Jun, 2019 | Movie Reviews / 2018 Releases / Inspired Movies (Alphabetical) / R / Indian Regional language Gems (Other Than Hindi) / ALL ABOUT INSPIRED MOVIES

Since last few decades, I have many friends settled abroad, who make regular or irregular visits back home and there are sharp contrasts in their viewpoints regarding the life in India, the people and the traditions in comparative terms. 
Where a few have completely changed with no intention to come back or not appreciative of the life here, a few are still deeply connected to their country and desperately wish to be here again after some years to live their concluding decades. 
Meeting them several times in the past, I have come to a conclusion that the love, attachment or an inner connect with the land of India or Bharat, its roots and its traditional rituals has actually nothing to do with either the mind or the heart of an individual. And it certainly has nothing to do with politics or any sudden proud felt, becoming a part of a specific group or association. It no doubt has to do something with the upbringing of a person and his family background, but actually has everything to do with the soul or the subconscious existence of an individual with its roots going back to the previous births.
The experience of talking with them all has always forced me to believe in the existence of multiple births as I couldn’t find any other logical reasoning for this unexplainable love and devotion felt by a grown up person or even a child towards this country’s rivers, mountains, monuments and historical places irrespective of any religion, colour, caste or region. Have witnessed love for river Ganga, for the city of Rishikesh, Varanasi, Vaishno Devi, Hemkunt, Amritsar and more by friends who otherwise have no connection whatsoever with these places belonging to different sects or religions. Have even known two real brothers with just opposite views about moving back to the country when they both had the same kind of upbringing in their initial years.
Hence have always felt that this invisible bonding has certainly got some kind of relation with our previous lives and maybe that’s the reason the traditional rituals at times work like magic even if they appear to be completely illogical and unjustified to an educated mind. In reality, each and every traditional ritual, which our elders used to teach and they still do, has actually got a solid base and reasoning that might sound insane or weird to a foreigner or a  new age person. For instance, why the rivers in India are addressed as a female gender, as a mother and not father? Why they are worshipped as a deity? And why a bank of a river or a beach is considered the most appropriate place for meditation? 
Now one might not know the exact answer but he or she will easily feel some divine pull while walking along a sacred river or sitting beside it on a rock for hours, which definitely has to do something with our previous births.
Frankly this might be my personal conclusion, but I did find a good support for it in the Gujarati film REVA too, wherein a young boy living abroad returns to India after his grandfather dies and then slowly and steadily finds his lost spiritual connect with the holy land and river Narmada. Here as per the storyline, though the boy (since his birth) was well brought up by his grandfather, possibly giving him all the moral teachings of both the country and its tradition, he still doesn’t have any love for the land becoming a young businessman abroad. So where even the good upbringing largely failed, he could again find his spiritual calling walking along MA NARMADE, probably regaining the stage where he must have left the journey in his previous birth. Otherwise, neither the mind nor the heart would have allowed him to stay here or indulge in such unbelievable rituals with no rational reasoning.
Anyway that is my own theory about the concept, to which you might agree or disagree, but let us move on to the film REVA that actually talks about the same.
Directed by Rahul Bhole and Vinit Kanojia, REVA (the other name of river Narmada) is based on the novel TATVAMASI penned by Dhruv Bhatt. The film does bring back memories of Ashutosh-Shah Rukh’s SWADES but is dealt in a more meaningful and soothing way with a spiritual undercurrent flowing throughout its more than two hours of duration.
A young Indian coming back from US, visiting an ashram near Naramada in Gujarat, getting transformed during his stay meeting different kind of people, is no doubt a predictable and familiar theme lacking the novelty factor. But the film does manage to overcome this major shortcoming with its heartfelt execution, relatable performances, eye-catching as well as soothing cinematography, aptly chosen locations and above all a note-worthy, well-conceived soundtrack by Amar Khanda. In fact, it’s the songs that immensely help the film grow and make an impact, particularly the title song coming at intervals.
The debutant Chetan Dhanani successfully manages to find his connect with the audience post a shaky start, whereas Monal as Supriya is simply perfect playing the role of a well- educated girl working for the betterment of the poor locals and tribals. The rest of the cast looks and acts real working in the favour of the film, along with Daya Shankar Pandey overdoing it as the mystic faqir and Abhinay Banker and Atul Mahale enacting really well as the twin brothers Bittu-Banga
Having said that, this isn’t a flawless film to be honest, as the characters do tend to be over sentimental at times, moving away from reality. Plus a few insertions have been deliberately added (like the musical concert, the witch hunting and a star’s cameo) resulting in some dull moments in between and a longer length of around 160 minutes.
However, what’s clearly visible is the effort made straight from the heart presenting a clean, meaningful family film with a message which deserves to be appreciated, especially coming from the Gujarati film industry. As a film REVA surely conveys what it wishes to and also inspires the viewer to plan his next outing around a sacred Indian river, looking for a similar spiritual experience as portrayed in the film.

So do give it a try as this is a more than decent attempt with a message and some good music too that nowadays has sadly become a rarity.  

Rating : 3 + 0.5 / 5 (with the additional 0.5 for its music)

(Note : The film can now be seen at Amazon Prime with English Subtitles)

Tags : REVA Gujarati Film Review by Bobby Sing at bobbytalkscinema.com, New Gujarati Films Reviews by Bobby Sing, New Indian Cinema made in Regional Languages, Gujarati Cinema Hits Reviews by Bobby Sing
15 Jun 2019 / Comment ( 0 )
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