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Meri Nimmo review: Small-town boy experiences heartbreak for the first time

Release Date: 15 Oct 2017 / 01hr 33min

Cinestaan Rating

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Sonal Pandya

Rahul Shanklya makes his directorial debut in this cute but troublesome story of young love.

Rahul Shanklya, who previously assisted Aanand L Rai on Raanjhanaa (2013) and Tanu Weds Manu Returns (2015), has set his first film in his hometown Jabbalpur, Madhya Pradesh. The director, a National School of Drama (NSD) graduate, cast another NSD grad, Anjali Patil, in the title role.

In actuality, the film is more about little Hemu (Karan Dave), an eight-year-old boy living in Jabbalpur who discovers his love for Nimmo. Like any boy his age, Hemu loves cricket and hanging out with friends. In the small neighbourhood where he lives, everyone knows everyone's business and moves in and out of one another’s house with ease.

Hemu lives with his mother who is often away at work. Nimmo and her family pitch in to take care of him. Nimmo has seen him grow up. She takes care of his scrapes and bruises and gives him a bath after school. Unbeknownst to Hemu, Nimmo’s family has been planning an arranged marriage for her, to which she has no objection.

Hemu’s wily friend Matru (a delightful Aryan) cues Hemu to think that Nimmo likes Hemu romantically. That sparks off a curiosity in him and he believes himself to be in love with her, too. As the wedding arrangements grow to a feverish pitch around him, his mother and others, including Nimmo, keep pacifying Hemu saying she won’t leave. Hemu thinks Nimmo will never lie to him.

However, as the wedding day approaches, Hemu is flabbergasted that he hasn’t been able to scuttle it. He tries his best to claim her first, fashioning a mangalsutra for her out of a button, a magnet and a rudraksh. A charmed Nimmo always wears it on her.

Writer and director Shanklya has created some truly charming moments in the film — like when the neighbourhood children create their own little screening room and watch frames of Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995), and when Hemu tries to catch moments alone with Nimmo. However, I found the whole scenario a bit problematic.

The neighbourhood women, particularly Hemu’s mother and Nimmo, treat him as a child and keep many truths from him. It is no wonder then that he, a child, acts out when things don’t go his way. Furthermore, there is a side plot of another neighbourhood boy, the rascally Mahen, who is also interested in Nimmo despite her categorically saying she wants nothing to do with him. Nimmo's consent in the matter is brushed aside.

The child artiste Karan Dave, who plays Hemu, is adorable and expressive. His eventual road to heartbreak is filled with a better understanding of love and what it means to be grown up. Anjali Patil, as the older women Hemu falls for, is adequate.

Nimmo is co-produced by Aanand L Rai and Tamil actor Dhanush and was selected for 2016’s NFDC Film Bazaar. Thankfully, the film has no song but there is a pleasing score created by Krsna Solo.

They say you never forget your first love. Rahul Shanklya seeks to recapture that same magic, but the memory is always more pleasing than the actuality of it all. Nimmo is standard fare for a children’s film.

Nimmo was screened at the 19th MAMI Mumbai Film Festival on 15 October 2017.

Update: The film is now titled Meri Nimmo and will stream on Eros Now's digital platform from 27 April.

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