Coffee House (2009) *MQ*

Gurbir Singh Grewal’s ‘Coffee House’ is a modest and meaningful cinema that urges the youth to dream big and bring change. The film is an evocative reminder of the power of common man whose determination can transform the system. ‘Coffee House’ is undoubtedly inspired by the life of theatre activist Safdar Hasmi, who faced a brutal end during the 1990s.

Cast: Ashutosh Rana, Sakshi Tanwar, Aman Dhaliwal

Coffee House is a small, unostentatious, yet meaningful film about dreaming big, seeking change and making a difference.Naturally, in today’s high-voltage electioneering, the film comes as a topical reminder of the power of the common man.Ostensibly inspired by the life and times of noted theatre activist, Safdar Hashmi who died a brutal death in the 1990s, the film focuses on the valiant attempts of Ashutosh Rana and his street theatre group to change the system and make it more accountable, inclusive and humane.

Apart from his nukkad natak, Rana also runs his wife’s (Sakshi Tanwar) newspaper but steps back when the business interests of the paper come in conflict with his voice-of-protest editorial content.This however is a minor point of conflict between the much in love husband and wife who are the focal point of the ensemble cast which assembles in the neighbourhood coffee house for its daily adda-baazi sessions.The coffee house does not only witness a robust exchange of ideas on society, politics and ethics, it also becomes a platform for showcasing contemporary India’s major problems.

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