Often serious messages can be communicated through a light hearted story and this movie is one such attempt. I recently watched a 2009 release movie “well done abba” a satirical comedy by Shyam Benegal and starring Boman Irani, Rajendra Gupta, Ravi Krishan and Rajit Kapur. The story is about Boman Irani’s quest to avail a government subsidy for digging a well in a drought prone village. His each and every interaction with the bureaucracy results in demand for bribery. Each official has coined a humorous lexicon to negotiate the terms of the corruption which makes the first half an interesting watch.
In the second half, Boman Irani realizes that against a 1 Lakh disbursal from the government, only 8,000 actually reaches him. Frustrated he gathers all the fake proof he has obtained to prove that his “Well has been stolen.” Although, he himself is depicted as illiterate, he has taught his daughter well. Also unlike the conservative Muslim family, she does not wear a veil/burqa making her modern and a true asset. She gathers 75 similar families who have fake documentary proof including pictorial evidence on a well sponsored by Government of Andhra Pradesh. Together they launch a peaceful agitation shaming the bureaucracy and forcing them to construct the well.
The movie beautifully depicts that bribery is futile and even counter-productive. It only results in shrinking kitty to do the actual work and needless wasting of time. It also shows the masses how RTI (Right to information) if used properly can keep the government bureaucracy under check.