Duration: 01 Hr 38 Mins
Director: Ivan Ayr
Writer: Ivan Ayr, Neel Mani Kant
Producers: Kimsi Singh
Music: Gautam Nair
Cinematography: Angello Faccini
Editing: Ivan Ayr
Release Date: 07 May 2021 (India)
Streaming On: Netflix
Star Cast: Lakshvir Saran, Suvinder Vicky, Mohinder Gujral, Shanti Devi, Gaurika Bhatt
Plot: Set in the outskirts of Delhi-NCR, ‘Milestone’ (aka Meel Patthar) revolves around two main characters - a middle-aged truck driver Ghalib (Suvinder Vicky), who is coping with the recent, tragic demise of his wife and Pash (Lakshvir Saran), a wide-eyed ambitious young man, who is excited about driving trucks.
As the veteran truck driver Ghalib hits the 500,000-kilometer mark - a record for his company - he experiences sudden back pain. As Ghalib struggles to solve his back problem, he is asked to train the new young truck driver Pash. At this point, Ghalib begins to fear that his work and his life are getting out of hand, as he faces the threat of losing his life-defining job to the new driver.
Review: This multi-layered film co-written, edited, and directed by Ivan Ayr, like Chaitanya Tamhane’s ‘The Disciple’ - is also a story about loneliness. Ivan Ayr’s first film, Soni (2018), revolved around a female cop who was divorced. While, his latest, Milestone (Meel Patthar), revolves around a truck driver whose wife has died recently. Both stories expand the emotional life of their singleton protagonists with a secondary character (an older female cop in Soni, and a much-junior male trainee here). However, looking beyond the structural and perhaps coincidental similarities, you will sense two very different tones.
This film focuses on the personal and professional struggles of the truck industry workers, who hardly seem to live in their permanent residence with their family. They are always on the move and consider the truck as their ‘home’. The story is simple and to the point - be it Ghalib coping with the tragedy of his wife’s unexpected death, his back spasm, or the way he tries to save his job, the viewers can easily relate to him and his struggles throughout the movie. However, there is secrecy around Ghalib’s relationship with his wife, and that makes the audience wonder what might have actually happened. Even the portrayal of the owners of the company being rough with older employees, who have been working with them for decades and offering their jobs to youngsters, is spot on!
In short, the solid screenplay by Ivan Ayr and Neel Manikant swings between compassion, bonding, and selfish interests between owners and their workers, but at an unhurried pace. Most of the dialogues are a mix of Punjabi and Hindi, which perfectly blends with the story giving it a genuine feel. Some might find the pace a tad bit slow, but the story revolving around the life struggles of the characters will resonate with the viewers throughout.
Suvinder Vicky evidently uses his expressions and deep eyes to convey the miseries of his life. Therefore, it won’t be wrong to say that he stole the show as Ghalib. Also, Lakshvir Saran is incredible as the youngster struggling between his desire to be nice and the need for this job and money. In short, the close-up shots of the truck tyres in motion, and the dusty highway would keep you moving and involved with the slow-burning characters of Ghalib and Pash.
Also, be it the female sarpanch-head of the panchayat, (Mohinder Gujral), the punctured-tyre repair lady (Shanti Devi), or Ghalib’s sister-in-law (Gaurika Bhatt) - all the women in the movie are courageous and have powerful roles.
Overall, ‘Milestone’ is unquestionably a reflection of the life that will keep you involved!