Barefoot to Goa (2013): Praveen Morchhale’s indie film about moribund human bonds and decaying moral values

Barefoot to Goa, Poster, Directed by Praveen Morchhale

Barefoot to Goa is an indie film written, directed and co-produced by a Mumbai-based filmmaker named Praveen Morchhale. Morchhale’s debut film, Barefoot to Goa was in competition at the 2013 Mumbai Film Festival. On the face of it, Morchhale’s film is a tale of two siblings, an eleven year old brother and his nine year old precocious sister, who witness the loss of innocence during a life-changing road trip they undertake, stepping out of their cocooned environment for the very first time in their lives, in order to meet their ailing, abandoned grandmother. But, in its essence, Barefoot to Goa is a social commentary on the great rural-urban divide in India. Morchhale limns a vivid canvas to depict the dichotomy between the two Indias that seem miles apart.

It closely examines, through its characters, the three different stages of the human life-cycle: childhood, middle-age and dotage. It’s a cinematic essay that celebrates the innocence of the young, mocks the indifference of the adults, and mourns the loneliness of the old. Morchhale’s film serves to be a parable on the moribund human bonds in a fast-paced world. As an exemplum of our urban society’s moral and cultural decadence, Barefoot to Goa is a warning that poignantly highlights the futility of life and death. And, yet, it’s a movie that’s full of hope for the whole of mankind.

Barefoot to Goa inevitably brings to one’s mind the 1955 Satyajit Ray masterpiece Pather Panchali, which, like Morchhale’s film, revolved around two young siblings who experience loss of innocence while struggling to come to terms with the hard realities of life. Morchhale, like Ray, not only chooses a subject that’s quite difficult to market but also treats it in a manner that’s breathtakingly refreshing. Morchhale shows courage to make such a different film at a time when Indian cinema finds itself at the crossroads—while it’s been doing really well commercially, it’s clearly been left far behind, whether in terms of quality or the laurels received in the international arena.

Overall, Barefoot to Goa can be deemed brilliant on both the technical and emotional fronts, especially given the budget constraints that one often associates with an indie feature film. Morchhale uses minimal dialogue and mostly relies on his powerful imagery to convey his message to his audience. The characters written by Morchhale are quite memorable and the actors who play them help them bring to life. Barefoot to Goa can definitely prove to be a cathartic experience for those on the lookout for something to soothe their senses. While an average moviegoer may fail to appreciate the movie, the intelligent viewer will savor the food for thought which it offers in plenty.

Rating: 9/10

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About A Potpourri of Vestiges

Murtaza Ali is an independent film critic, sports writer, and content developer based out of Delhi. He is the author of the movie blog ‘A Potpourri of Vestiges’. He has been writing movie reviews at IMDb.COM for over four years. He is also associated with F1India.ORG as a content editor. Cinema is not only his passion, but also his greatest obsession. His all-time favorite movie-makers are Akira Kurosawa, Stanley Kubrick, Luis Bunuel, Andrei Tarkovsky, Charles Chaplin, Orson Welles, Federico Fellini, Ingmar Bergman, Satyajit Ray, Fritz Lang, Sergio Leonne, Francis Ford Cuppola, and Martin Scorsese.
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