An American documentary-maker in Goa

The Pool film posterBollywood is a fantastically convenient shorthand for certain types of Indian film, but Channel 4’s latest Indian screening will likely stretch even the malleable use I put the term to here.

Made by American documentary film-maker Chris Smith, The Pool has an Indian setting and is in Hindi, but it’s unlikely to be ‘Bollywood’.

Part of a short world film season, The Pool transposes a short story by Randy Russell from Iowa to the sultry heat of Panjim, the capital of India’s long-established holiday destination, Goa.

Two friends, 18-year-old Venatesh Chavan and 11-year-old Jhangir Badshah, both scrape a living from tourism – the older boy works in a hotel, while the younger, much smaller lad sells plastic bags of water to quench Westerners’ thirst.

While hanging out together sitting in a tree, Venatesh develops an obsession with a rich local girl (Ayesha Mohan) he spots lounging by the pool of her father’s walled-off villa. Jhangir jokes that the only way Venatesh will meet her is by cleaning the pool.

Having not heard before of the film or its director I’ll have to wait and see how it measures up to other, Indian-made, films, but it sounds like it would fit into a lineage of The Blue Umbrella or Sancharram.

The Pool – Monday 1 April, 00:55 – 02:30

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