scorecardresearchVadh on Netflix : This Neena Gupta and Sanjay Mishra-starrer has these 4 important money lessons for you

Vadh on Netflix : This Neena Gupta and Sanjay Mishra-starrer has these 4 important money lessons for you

Updated: 10 Feb 2023, 08:23 AM IST
Vadh is a Netflix film starring Sanjay Mishra and Neena Gupta that tells the story of elderly parents who take loans to fund their son's dreams, only to be let down. In the end, they bequeath their home to a young girl who brings joy to their lives.
This Netflix movie gives these key lessons to those taking student loans

This Netflix movie gives these key lessons to those taking student loans

Smalltown India has big dreams. It’s a good thing too, because there are deserving students everywhere. Movies have always rooted for the underdog and you have come away from underdog movies like Lagaan, Chak De!, 83 and Super 30 with a sense of hope and a smile on your face.

Vadh is a small film that has recently been released on Netflix. Here, you don’t want the young man with dreams of ‘going abroad’ to succeed. In fact, you wish he would never come back simply because he’s so thankless.

Everyone should own a home

Sanjay Mishra and Neena Gupta play the elderly parents of a young lad who wants to go abroad to study and work. They are Shambhunath and Manju Mishra living in a small town. They are like you and I and most common folk who have been brought up to believe in the concept of owning one's home when you retire. They have a son who knows that the small town has nothing to offer to him and he needs to go abroad to study and work.

Loans, at what cost?

What do you do when your pockets aren’t deep enough to cover the costs of the fees, the stay, the travel? Shambhunath Mishra’s son is angry that he’s not even allowed to dream big. ‘Everyone else is taking out loans to go study abroad! When I start working I will return the money!’ He tells his father.

Shambhunath Mishra is an upright man, who lives within his means. He does not understand why his son cannot see beyond his own wants. Shambhunath and his son go to the bank for an education loan. But he’s been a teacher, and receives only a pension. Which means the loan amount he will qualify for is almost nothing to what the lad really needs.

‘Take this loan, and I will figure out the rest,’ The son tells his father. ‘The rest’ turns out to be a loan shark who willingly gives Shambhunath’s son the money to travel and study abroad.

The entanglements with loan sharks

With the education loan being systematically taken out every month from his pension, Shambhunath and his wife now have nothing left to pay the loan shark or make ends meet. He teaches neighbourhood kids for a small fee.

Their son is now living and working abroad. And when Shambhunath Mishra and his wife take a rickshaw ride to the internet cafe to make that video call, their son fobs them off with one excuse or the other. He’s now married and has a child and has moved to a new place, so giving back the money he has promised his father (and also to the loan shark) do not figure in his to-do list.

He’s irritated by his parents' video call: Why do you video call me? Why do you always call me to ask for money for this illness and that expense? Can’t you see I have expenses too?

Neena Gupta who plays Manju Mishra, the mother tries to pacify her son, ‘We only want to get to know our grandchild. We are not always reminding you about the loan!’

How many times in real life do we see one parent trying to bridge the gap between their children and them?

They haven’t told their son that the loan shark sends an awful man to collect the debt ever so often, and the debt-collector is a horrible human being who uses their home as a love motel and even brings non-veg food to their ‘pandit’ home.

The debt-collector is so ghastly, you wouldn’t want to wish the plight of Shambhunath Mishra on anyone. After one frustrating and insulting call with their son, Shambhunath Mishra does something drastic.

The debt-collector casts an evil eye on the little girl Shambhunath Mishra is tutoring. The child is a source of joy in the life of the Mishras. Shambhunath, who is simmering in anger after that call with his ungrateful, selfish son is pushed to violence. What follows in the movie will make you, the audience, smile.

Revenge of the common man

Shambhunath Mishra tries to confess to the crime at the police station, where they laugh at him. How could he - the powerless, retired teacher - have committed the crime? But the station head begins to suspect him. Shambhunath refuses to get caught and now tells the powerful loan shark that he has paid off all the loan to the debt-collector who may have absconded with the money.

You’re chuckling at this chutzpah of this old couple. But they have learnt a valuable lesson from their life. And the film ends with Shambhunath Mishra and Manju Mishra bequeathing their home to the little girl whose family is a squatter on an unused home.

When children do not respect their ageing parents, and bring nothing but frustration to them, as we see Shambhunath Mishra’s son in the movie, isn’t it justice that they give their all to someone who brings them joy? More than the 'vadh' ('righteous death') of a bad guy, the film shows us that it is the righteous death in our deep-rooted beliefs that our children will look after us when we are old, take care of debts they incur and love us unconditionally.

Manisha Lakhe is a poet, film critic, traveller, founder of Caferati — an online writer’s forum, hosts Mumbai’s oldest open mic, and teaches advertising, films and communication. She can be reached on Twitter at @manishalakhe.

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First Published: 10 Feb 2023, 08:23 AM IST