Shiv Nadar Productions, Akshay Parija Productions and Eleeanora Images’ Halkaa is a story about the problem of open defecation.
Pichku (master Tathastu) lives with his parents (Ranvir Shorey and Paoli Dam) in a chawl. The little boy is ashamed of relieving himself in the open and, in the absence of a toilet at home or in the neighbourhood, prefers to defecate inside his home. This doesn’t sit well with his father.
One day, government officials come to the basti in which Pichku lives, to disburse money for building community toilets. The plan is to distribute money among only those people who would use the money for their personal gains rather than to make toilets, after, of course, bribing the officials. Pichku’s own father is one such unscrupulous man who is eyeing the government money for his gains.
However, Pichku and his friend, Gopi (master Aryan Preet), decide to do the impossible – build a toilet. They accomplish their mission very quietly without telling anyone in the basti. Of course, they seek outside help.
Suddenly one day, there’s a raid on people who’ve taken government funds but not utilised the same for constructing a toilet. Pichku’s father is the first to be interrogated and faces arrest as he has not used the money to build a toilet.
What happens thereafter?
Nila Madhab Panda and Nitin Dixit have penned a story which is well-meaning but which has very limited appeal because it moves on a single track, that too, which is not very interesting. Nitin Dixit’s screenplay is hardly engaging because it becomes monotonous quite early on. The drama fails to excite or involve the audience as the two kids set out to achieve an almost impossible task. There are hardly any high points in the screenplay which, therefore, moves in quite a flat fashion. The initial scenes of Pichku defecating in his home are actually repulsive. Perhaps, the only two things which offer some level of excitement, however small, are the construction of the toilet and the climax. The rest of the drama is actually very boring. Nitin Dixit’s dialogues are not half as good as they should’ve been.
Master Tathastu delivers a confident performance as Pichku. Master Aryan Preet is very natural as Gopi. Ranvir Shorey does a fine job as Pichku’s father. In the role of Pichku’s mother, Paoli Dam is impressive. Kumud Mishra lends decent support as Baba. Devender Chaudhry makes his mark as the Parryware salesman. Digamber Prasad (as Shukla), Harish Chhabra (as the Municipal Corporation officer), Hemany Verma (as the school teacher), Inderpal Singh (as the tempo driver), Jai Mukesh Sharma (as the senior officer in the Parryware showroom), Lalit Goswami (as the other Parryware salesman) and the others are adequate.
Nila Madhab Panda’s direction is unidimensional. His narration excludes everything else except the main point of making a toilet. As such, the film looks like a documentary on toilets. Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy’s music and Protique Mojoomdar’s lyrics are functional and although they are fairly nice, none of the songs is popular. Uma Gaiti’s choreography is passable. Jim Satya’s background music is ordinary. Camerawork (by Pratap Rout) is fairly nice. Boishali Sinha’s production designing and Sachin Vinayakrao Khate’s art direction are of a good standard. Archit Rastogi’s editing needed to be sharper.
On the whole, Halkaa is a poor show and lacks entertainment value. It looks more like a propaganda film. As such, it will not find favour with the public.