'The Well'

Two cousins from Maharashtra spend the days leading up to a family wedding at a watering hole.

Two school-going cousins from Maharashtra spend the days leading up to a family wedding at the titular watering hole in “The Well,” a colorful family drama that takes a left turn into more somber territory when one of the cousins suddenly dies. Filmed in Marathi and produced by the company of Bollywood royalty Amitabh Bachchan, this unusually contemplative tale — which relies just a little too much on metaphors to get its points across — will continue its life on the fest circuit after its Rotterdam and Berlinale preems.

Sophomore pic of helmer Umesh Vinayak Kulkarni (“The Wild Bull”) reps a more ambitious and complex effort than his first pic, though it takes a long time to get going. Any psychological depth only develops about an hour in, when the younger and more frivolous of the two, Samir (Madam Deodhar, very good), remains behind alone and struggles to understand what happened to his more pensive cousin Nachiket (Alok Rajwade). Kulkarni neatly uses sound design and clean widescreen compositions to further his story, clearly showing he’s grown as a director. Colors seemed washed out at projection caught; rest of tech package is fine.

The Well

India

Production

A Sarawati Creations presentation of an Amitabh Bachchan Corp. production. (International sales: Amitabh Bachchan Corp., Mumbai.) Produced by Ramesh Pulapaka. Executive producer, Girish Pandurang Kulkarni. Directed by Umesh Vinayak Kulkarni. Screenplay, Girish Pandurang Kulkarni, Sati Bhave, dialogues, Pandurang Kulkarni.

Crew

Camera (color, widescreen), Sudheer Palsane; editor, Niraj Voralia; music, Mangesh Dhakde, production designers, Sachin Ravin, Anita Donald. Original title: Vihir. Marathi dialogue. Reviewed at Berlin Film Festival (Generation 14plus), Feb. 14, 2009. (Also in Rotterdam Film Festival -- Bright Future.) Running time: 117 MIN.

With

Madan Deodhar, Alok Rajwade, Renuka Daftardar, Mohan Agashe, Jyoti Subhash, Sulbha Deshpande, Girish Kulkarni, Amruta Subhash, Ashwini Giri, Vitthal Umap.

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