Eeb Allay Ooo opens with our protagonist Anjani (Shardul Bharadwaj) on trial for a measly government job of chasing away monkeys. The young migrant worker from Bihar, like countless invisibles who’ve left their homes behind, has moved to the capital in search for a better life.
First-time director Prateek Vats’ political satire cleverly explores class conflict. It shines light on the carefully sidelined migrant community, who’s penalised if it dares to transgress the unwritten rules laid out by the privileged few, for it must quietly function like cogs in the wheel to keep our cities and lives moving.
A keenly observed film, Eeb Allay Ooo speaks a language rich in metaphors. It offers an unassuming, unpretentious atmosphere leading you quietly into its narrative, never being indulgent at the cost of its viewer.
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Shubham and Prateek Vats’ writing is incisive. In one of the scenes, a character says, “This is Rasina Hill, traditionally ruled by monkeys.” And you’re left marveling at the astuteness of the remark delivered rather casually.
The city, like the script, offers and often lends itself to plentiful symbolisms. Saumyananda Sahi’s cinematography remarkably juxtaposes the cityscape of the elite against the cramped, crumbling dwellings of the less fortunate.
This isn’t the kind of satire that hits you in the face, it’s a slow burn that crawls up your spine, gnaws at your innards until you have nothing left to give, lacerates and ultimately leaves you crippled. Like the parasitic bureaucracy it calls out. A system that mercilessly feeds off its lesser privileged. And yet these battered souls must continue to fuel the machinery and play by its rules.
Shardul Bharadwaj perfectly embodies the angst of those on the margins of society and their perpetual battle for survival.
If you’re looking for an escape, be warned, this offers none.
Where to Watch: Netflix