Based on Doctor Kashi Nath Singh’s popular Hindi novel, Assi Ka Kaashi, Mohalla Assi is all about the changing landscape of Varanasi and focuses particularly on the Assi Ghat, one of the holiest places in Hinduism.
This film revolves around a Sanskrit teacher Pandit Dharmanath Pandey (Sunny Deol), who is totally against the foreigners renting rooms in his all-Brahmin neighbourhood and his wife, Savitri (Sakshi Tanwar), who is someone who believes in calling a spade a spade.
We also get to meet Kanni Guru (Ravi Kishan), an opportunist who is ever-willing to make quick buck and Nekram Sharma (Faisal Rashid), a barber who later becomes a yogi.
An important part of Mohalla Assi is the tiny shop, Pappu Ki Dukaan, at Assi Ghat where tea is always piping hot and political views are always on the boil. The film which spans over a decade beginning from 1988 to 1998, still looks relevant, but then the narrative is all over the place.
Both Sunny Deol and Sakshi Tanwar are perfectly cast, while the rest of the characters have done justice to their roles.
Finally, after a long wait of almost six years and an online leak, Mohalla Assi based on the politically charged topic of Ram Janmabhoomi finally saw the light of the day, but sadly this one is a missed opportunity.
I am sure that the film being choppy and inconsistent is all thanks to the kind of adjustments the makers had to do to get their film up for release and that has made the final product looked shabby. I am sure had the film released in its original form it would have been a much better product.
I am sure most of you would have watched this one thanks to the unfortunate online leak, but for me, this now could have been a great film had the maker trimmed it a bit and had there been fewer monologs.
Rating: Two Stars