The invention of YouTube, Netflix, and other digital platforms has democratized films and filmmakers. Suddenly, the art of filmmaking isn’t only for the chosen few. Everyone has the luxury of narrating stories in their own way, and if their stories are genuine and heartfelt, chances are they get a respectable distributor. Same is the fate for ‘The Lift Boy’, an honest and feel-good film by the debutante Jonathan Augustin.
The Lift Boy (streaming on Netflix) is a heart-warming tale of incomplete dreams, unusual friendships, and life’s perfect moments in its imperfections. Raju Tawade (Moin Khan) wakes up one day in the hopes of passing his engineering exam (after fourth attempt), only to find that he has failed again. He gets yet another blow when his father, Krishna Tawade (Saagar Kale), suffers cardiac arrest and is bedridden for three weeks. Being the only son, he decides to fill his dad’s shoes by taking up his job of a ‘lift (elevator) operator’ temporarily till his return. What follows is the coming of age story of Raju and his tryst with life experiences that would change him forever.
Khan’s raw performance as Raju Tawade is marvelous. It is this rawness, that enables the audience to connect with his character and relate to his struggles. Another fabulous performance is by Nyla Masood who plays Maureen D’Souza – the owner of the building. Known for her costume designing work in ‘Stanley Ka Dabba’, ‘Hawaa Hawai’, ‘Umrika’, etc., Masood makes her acting debut in The Lift Boy with a sincere and remarkable performance. Although with very little screen time, Saagar Kale & Aneesha Shah have made their presence felt by immaculate portrayals of their respective characters.
On paper, The Lift Boy may not seem like a perfect film. It doesn’t have big name actors, well-known technicians behind the scenes or big studio backing, yet you end up with a smile on your face when the credits roll. This is because you could see a genuine attempt by a filmmaker to weave a story with all the possible resources available. Although it follows the life of Raju, the film addresses many philosophical aspects such as following your passion, facing your fears, enjoying the journey and not worrying about the destination.
Bollywood losing two of its best performers in the last week serves as a reminder that life is about the journey and not the destination. So, let us make the most of our journey and enjoy it the process. The ups, downs and the bumps, because (as Irrfan Khan once said), “You never know when the TC (ticket collector) may tap on your shoulder and inform you that your destination has arrived”.
Reviewed by Puneet Ruparel