In the last few weeks, Punjabi filmmakers have delivered a few average yet path-breaking films in terms of bold subjects never tried before in Punjabi cinema. Releasing directly online, we recently had Panchhi — on the life of a maniac, and Please Kill Me — about an abduction by an obsessed lover, two intense crime-based films with a lot of bloodshed.
However, Dustbin moves one step ahead with an unexpectedly daring plot focusing on suspicion, adultery, and sex, rarely adapted before in a Punjabi film. Written and directed by Taj, it’s about a small middle-class family going through turmoil when the husband accidentally finds a box of condoms lying in their dustbin, not belonging to him. The plot no doubt sounds intriguing, but what’s even more interesting is the execution, exactly like the infamous projects made by Ram Gopal Varma (RGV version-2) in the last few years.
In other words, Dustbin looks like a Punjabi, songless film made by RGV with his typical mix of good, average and amateurish sequences involving the lead as well as the supporting cast. Though Mintu Kapa tries his best as the doubtful husband feeling betrayed for no mistake of his, the film seriously gets affected by the loud and theatrical performances by the others throughout its less than 100 minutes duration.
Plus, a few things are purposefully kept in the script, like the repeated mention of ‘Strawberry flavour’ in the dialogues, clearly added as a titillating element for the viewers. Besides, it all seems to be stretched post the twist, presented with an over-the-top background score that keeps trying too hard to make its presence felt.
Returning to the ‘happy ending’ format playing it safe, the film also becomes completely predictable in its last thirty minutes. And that’s when one strongly feels that the idea would have been perfect for a short movie instead of a not-so-happening feature film.
Giving due credit, Dustbin is probably the most courageous Punjabi project made in recent times, which you wish to appreciate wholeheartedly, but the execution doesn’t allow you to do so. With some better writing and a different supporting cast, this surely would have been a pleasant shocking thriller for the Punjabi audience. Sadly, it remains an average, onetime watch drama in the present format, missing the expected thrills.
Title: Dustbin (Punjabi)
Cast: Mintu Kapa, Saniya Pannu, Sanju Solanki
Rating: 2.5 stars
Streaming on Chaupal