Director: Buddha Dev Dasgupta
Cast: Nawazudin Siddiqui, Pankaj Tripathi
High on the slope surrounded by the mountains, a vast, arid playground is
spread like a carpet and in the middle of it is a narrow pathway, where
voyagers pass by, a toy seller, a musician, a water seller, a daily wager. They
cross each other in silence, sometimes they wave or nod but most of the time, they
The static frame captures all this and the changing skyline, the silent
moment stretches for more than a minute and it is magical! Ask any director and
he will tell you that the most difficult things to project in cinema is silence
and Buddha Dev Dasgupta proves that he is a master of quietude.
The 76-year-old Dasgupta has been making movies for 50 years now and is
a five-time national award winner. He directed his first Hindi film Andhi Gali
starring Deepti Naval in the year 1984 and now 36 years later, Dasgupta brings
his second Hindi film, Anwar Ka Ajab Kissa that also has an English title,
Anwar Mohammad/ Nawazudin Siddiqui is employed by Kolkatta’s detective
agency Inner Eye. His office is frequented by all kinds of people: A husband
snooping on his wife, a wife hunting for her missing husband, a father on the
lookout for his missing son and a daughter desperate to solve the mystery of
her dead father.
Stories lead to further stories and characters to more characters. The
narrative treads between illusion and reality, you sometimes feel that the
events are unfolding in the character’s life and sometimes, it appears as if it
is all happening in the character’s imagination but it is not at all disturbing.
The director introduces his cast leisurely, allows them ample space and
time to unload their complexities. So, one does it sitting on his bed relishing
a cup of tea, another prefers to meet outdoor and share a dark secret and Anwar
shares his daily observations with his pet over rum and coke sitting in his
Anwar’s neighbors are curious about him and Anwar is curious about life,
people and befriends strangers, what is admirable is that the way the narrative
alters pace to reflect Anwar’s mindset and location. When he comes to the hilly
village, time stands still!
There are five strong reasons to watch Anwar Ka Ajab Kissa:
1. Sound: By none other than the Oscar awardee Rasul Pookuty is spectacular
be it the street sounds or the Inner Eye office.
2. Locations: Shot in the hill village Shimutala, Bihar and Kokatta the
frames are picturesque. 3. Music: There are two songs and both foot tapping,
the background score is heart wrenching and haunts you long after the film is
4. Imageries: created both by words when Nawazudin describes a postman
is spellbinding and the cinematography, breath taking.
5: Message: The film dwells on human relationships, loneliness,
incompleteness and aching vacuum.
In the 80s art cinema ushered a new sensibility and created a revolution
in our movies. Anwar Ka Ajab Kissa/ Sniffer brings back memories of that era.
If you are a lover of that cinema, Sniffer is for you- reflective and thought
provoking. If not, watch it just for Nawazudin Siddiqui who delivers yet
another sensitive performance.
Pankaj Tripathi is mentioned in the credits but is visible only in a
special appearance as breezy young, searching soul.
Anwar Ka Ajab Kissa is for the
soul and the mind, go for it and thank
you Buddha Dev Dasgupta for this sparkler at 76.
I rate Anwar Ka Ajab Kissa/ Sniffer with 4 stars.