Eeb Allay Ooo!, directed by Prateek Vats, is an Indian film which has had its premiere on We Are One Youtube channel for the global film festival initiative on May 30th. The film has already featured in Mumbai film festival and in panaroma section of Berlin film festival.
The film intrigues since the beginning, when a group of men tutor a newly arrived worker among them, to make strange sounds. Anjani (Shardul Bharadwaj), a school drop-out, comes to Delhi to seek help from his sister and brother-in-law for a job in the city. He gets a job as a monkey chaser in the Red Fort. His job is to keep the monkeys away from the government building at any cost. Monkeys are considered equivalent to Lord Hanuman, the holy god, by the Hindu religion. Beating a monkey is considered as a sin among the followers of religion. Instead, the government has appointed monkey chasers to maintain the solidarity. Anjani starts to learn his rope on how to repel the monkeys though he isn’t as skilled as the other workers who seem to do their job effortlessly. He has a feeble voice for which the monkeys don’t seem to be scared of.
Director Prateek brilliantly dwells on the storyline of how the people, who are privileged to get what they want, really don’t follow the rules they have set. They set the rules not to feed the monkeys in the premise of the Red Fort but still they give their “offerings” to the godlike creatures when they want to and they can’t be questioned too. The announcements in metro subtly mocks how the men of the society actually lives and how they suppose to live. Men think that they need to be called out for their deliberate actions. The unwanted gun for a security guard in an amusement park indicates that a weapon always causes chaos and finds its use even when there is no need for it. It stirs the ego in men. The strange sounds, that Anjani tries hard to master, connotes how the majority of the society learns a sound to mirror the people they see everyday to maintain a good relationship. Learning english and learning to be flexible around people who might favor them are what determine the structure of a person’s life in this society.
Anjani leaves work from the magnificent red fort, takes the metro, walks to cross a railway track and down into the alley among congested houses, he lives with his sister’s family. His life is down at the slope just like the place he lives. He doesn’t have the will to go on to do a work at which he isn’t good at. He doesn’t have a choice too as he is not good at anything else. He comes up with a smart idea to chase away the monkeys but Director Prateek doesn’t regard for a happy ending. He manifests the plight of the people whose jobs aren’t as secured as some people, as someone who lives in a bubble unaware of such existence of job called monkey chasing.
He talks about the various uncertainties in the lives of people who think they are just fortunate enough to have a job to run for life. Anjani’s off-mood pregnant sister and her husband, who is a night security in amusement park, demonstrates the nature of life whose livelihood depends on their jobs. Naina Sareen plays the caring neighbour, a friend, a nurse. It’s one of the beautiful introductions I have seen in films as it doesn’t try too hard for an introduction that usually happens in mainstream films. This description suits the whole film as it doesn’t try too hard to preach. We are immediately into the film’s world that it has set.
Eeb Allay Ooo!, has its genius lies in its satirical approach. The brilliant lighthearted comedy is amazingly used to discuss some pressing concerns in Indian society. Anjani’s mentor in his job is Mahindren who is proficient at chasing monkeys. The film’s underlying message is how a government could act like everything is fine once they brush off the things that cause them any problem, like chasing away the monkeys is one of them. They always have a solution for a problem and that is not to find a solution at all. Anjani’s brother-in-law works as a night security for a meager wage and required to learn to how to use a rifle for security purposes. It’s a dig at the government for spending on unnecessary armories while the primary starvation, unemployment concerns aren’t heeded. Mahindren says the monkeys would recognize and get acquainted to a person in order to be scared of them. At one point, the monkeys do recognize Anjani as he is also one of them now. People like him are needed to prove the democracy in government which it vows to protect and also the people are chased away when they cause inconvenience to the solidarity they have preserve in the Red Fort.
The ending fittingly conveys that when the issues like unemployment and starvation aren’t taken care of in timely manner, the government will be in an awful position to face the antisocials or the Langurs. The people, who hold their Hindu religion dear to heart, who regard religion over humanity, might like to call such people “the army of Vali, the elder brother of Sugreev”. They stamp the people before they listen to them, even before they voice concerns. In fact, when the government lacks empathy towards inequality such as this, it’s exactly when the unsocial events begins to happen and myriad of misanthropes emerge.