Eeb Allay Ooo: A dark comedy about the absurdity of a work contract that takes place in the center of the capital. Directed by Prateek Vats, Eeb Allay Ooo is Netflix a film that holds a sharp and harsh criticism of the Indian state, but not with a bitter or angry tone. This film instead offers disappointments and disappointments, wrapped in absurd desires. It takes us through the hilarious journey of a young migrant named Anjani, who works as a monkey repeller in the government. The number of oddities his job has is directly proportional to the inevitable impact it has on his mental and emotional stability.
The footage of the film was released on YouTube yesterday, and for most of you who don’t know it, it has already been screened at the Pingyao International Film Festival in China and at the Mumbai Film Festival in India. But now it’s distributed by Netflix to reach a wider audience.
Now, back to the story. When we glanced at it, we found a young man staring directly at the camera and making strange noises, which were exactly onomatopoeic, the same as the title. She is Anjani, a young migrant from Bihar who lives with her pregnant sister and brother-in-law on the outskirts of Delhi. He was employed in the capital’s monkey repellent squad, which was stationed outside government buildings in Lutyen’s Delhi. This is done so that the government apparatus is away from the disturbance caused by the macaques. But the job comes with a condition – in the process of driving away monkeys, they are not allowed to hurt or touch them in any way. They must be kept away by a sound, which is recognized by the monkey.
The job was sometimes stressful and mentally exhausting. Once he was locked up in a cage prepared for the monkeys by using bananas as bait to lure them away. At that moment, we saw tears of helplessness in his eyes. As the film progresses, we learn that Anjani is not able to make sound as effectively as her peers. He felt that the more he tried to make noises to repel the monkeys, the more aggressively they behaved with him. We also see him being pushed into this job by his family, because they don’t want him to be unemployed. But little do they know, what kind of impact it has on a personal level. It was hard for him to endure the silliness of the work he had been forced to do when he realized that the work he had found was not what he really wanted to do. And in spite of all that, we watched the social confinement in which he was locked up, throughout the film.
The reason why animals are treated so well in India is not modesty and basic humanity, but because of religion. Religion is the main reason why animals are so protected and respected. There are so many temples where rats are fed and respected, as they are seen as friends of Lord Ganesha. For various religious reasons, animals such as squirrels, elephants and cows are also worshiped equally. And don’t forget how monkeys were never mistreated, because they were believed to be Lord Hanuman’s avatars. And the reason Delhi has such a pervasive and out of control monkey problem is because people continue to feed them leftovers, with blind religious beliefs. After being given this kind of treatment, the monkeys marked certain residential areas as their own, because they had developed a sense of sheer entitlement.
Shortly thereafter, we saw Anjani stopping one of the men from feeding the monkeys, as doing so could make the situation worse. They may keep coming back, and feeding will eventually become their habit. However, the man, using and showing off his fake identity, threatened to complain to his boss. This kind of behavior is very common and normal in the kind of society and country we live in. We people who are above the poverty line or at a certain status in society feel like we have everything around us. We believe that people who work with a relatively lower status mean almost nothing. But unfortunately, they are just as human as we are. Using credentials to prove your worth is just an example of how life provides you with enough opportunities so that you can prove yourself. If they were given the same thing, they would be in the same place as you. Offensive, but true.
“A surreal allusion to the state of the nation, in which humans are reduced to animals and animals elevated to divine status.”
– Baradwaj Rangan (@baradwajrangan) 18 February 2021
Anjani feels uncomfortable when he is at his job. He’s always been afraid of monkeys, and he still does. Facing an aggressive monkey every day is no easy task. Though he tried to make peace with her, by learning a new method. From using catapults to dressing up as a ‘langur’ to scaring monkeys, he’s tried everything. However, all the efforts he made were immediately rejected by his superiors. Whenever a new idea comes up, it is ultimately crushed by those who sit above it, because they reject any idea, which seems to deviate from whatever they have practiced up to now. Little did they do to keep their lives undisturbed.
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When Anjani came to Delhi, dreaming about a better life, she wouldn’t have imagined she would chase monkeys for a living. But there are many people like him, men and women living in the slums, who are seen as helpers by the community. Still, he managed to rattle the cage he was pushed in. Film is a social satire that has the courage to express its own opinion, and show us the real picture. Its creators have discussed themes as hard as religious bigotry and nationalism. Projects such as Delhi Crime, Paatal Lok and Tandav have managed to uncover the truth, taking place in India’s most cinematic city-Delhi.
This film, along with its development, depicts various metaphorical and ironic relationships between humans and things. We saw Anjani’s pregnant sister, who is a housewife and was very obsessed with the cleanliness around her while living in the slum. Her husband, who works as a security guard, felt nauseous when asked to store weapons. And then there’s Anjani, who works like a monkey repellent but is afraid of the monkeys themselves. All of these equations show us how at times, our lives twist in total contradiction with what we want. And the makers have enveloped the deeper lessons of life and people’s everyday circumstances beautifully, with cinematic sparkle.
In this day and age, cinema is not just a love story of a handsome man and a beautiful woman who falls in love, regardless of family boundaries and class differences. Nor are audiences interested in seeing a bottomless romantic comedy that has absolutely no humor and only succeeds at the box office due to its star-studded cast. The country’s lockdown has improved people’s cinema habits in a very constructive way. People limit themselves to walking into cinema halls for the sake of some sparkly storylines. People today appreciate the good cinema they can relate to real life. And to be honest, Eeb Allay Ooo got full marks on that part. This is not a very interesting story that stands out from the world. Instead, it takes from our basic everyday lives and those of people who struggle to make a living and everything that happens in the city.
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When you watch it, even for a fraction of a second you won’t feel that this might be impossible in real life, as you do when you watch Karan Johar’s film which dresses students as if they were attending a fashion show. . Instead, you will be connected to the story, every minute. That’s the power of stories that reflect your normal life. Directed by Prateek Vats, and starring Shardul Bharadwaj in the lead role, Eeb Allay Ooo is streaming Netflix.