Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.
India, 2014Cinemorphic, Sikhya Entertainment, Asap FilmsScreenplay by Andy Paterson, Danis Tanovic Cinematography by Erol ZubcevicProduced by Marc Baschet, Kshitij Chaudhary, Prashita Chaudhary, Anurag Kashyap, Cedomir Kolar, Guneet Monga, Andy Paterson, Cat VilliersMusic by Pritam ChakrabortyProduction Design by K.K. Muralidharan, Rachan RastogiCostume Design by Niharika KhanFilm Editing by Prerna Saigal
Struggling to sell pharmaceutical products created by local Pakistani companies, Ayan gives in to the pressures of corporate giants and starts working instead for Lasta (which the film very cheekily points out is subbing in for Nestle). He is immediately a success, bringing plenty of money home to his family and impressing his bosses, until his friendship with a doctor reveals a terrifying truth: the baby formula he sells to medical clinics is deadly to babies when mixed with unclean water, which many of the country’s poor and illiterate villagers feed their children in an effort to give them western products which they think are better than their own breast milk. Ayan switches gears without hesitation, contacting the WHO and looking to bring Lasta down, all the while putting himself and his family in danger. The framing device of this partially successful drama is an interview between Ayan and a filmmaking team who want to make a documentary about his past experiences, hesitant only about the legal ramifications of making any claims against Nestle that the corporation could refute. A stunning opening sequence (using a recording of court testimony conducted by Edward Kennedy from 1978 on the exact issue) and an explosive story line unfortunately don’t provide for an unforgettable film despite the fact that it should be a cinch. Many of the scenes are marred by awkward dialogue and direction, much like Danis Tanovic’s misfire Triage, and this dampens the experience as inspiring cinema.
Toronto International Film Festival: 2014