REVISION: Set on the outskirts of Delhi-NCR, ‘Milestone’ (aka Meel Patthar) revolves around two main characters: Ghalib, an elderly and lonely truck driver who, despite always driving from one place to another, it hasn’t made much progress. in life and Pash (Lakshvir Saran), an ambitious young man with wide eyes, who is excited about truck driving.
This multi-layered film is co-written, edited, and directed by Ivan Ayr (known for his 2018 debut film ‘Soni’) and focuses on the personal and professional struggles of trucking industry workers, who hardly seem to live in its permanent place. residence with his family. They are always on the go and consider the truck as their “home”. From the opening scene to the end, the camera follows Ghalib in an attempt to make viewers feel as if they are following him. The audience follows him as he walks with his nagging back pain, the continuous cycle of loading and unloading goods at his workplace, driving his truck down the road, and guiding his understudy Pash. Close-ups of moving truck tires and dusty roads keep you moving and engaged with the slow-burning characters of Ghalib and Pash.
The story is simple and to the point, whether it’s Ghalib dealing with Etali’s tragedy, his wife’s unexpected death, his back spasm, or the way he’s trying to save his job. Viewers can easily identify with him and his struggles throughout the film. However, there is a secret surrounding Ghalib’s relationship with his wife that makes audiences wonder what could have really happened. The solid script (by Ivan Ayr and Neel Manikant) swings from compassion, bonding, and selfish interests between owners and their workers at a leisurely pace. The description of business owners being tough on older employees (who have been working with them for decades) and offering their jobs to younger ones is accurate. This is what happened to Ghalib’s friend and co-worker, Dilbaug (Gurinder Makna), who had been abruptly asked to leave the company.
The intensity of the scenes increases the overall impact of the story. Most of the dialogue is a mix of Punjabi and Hindi that blends perfectly with the story giving it a genuine feel. The conversations are deep and meaningful, like the scene where Pash comes to see a corpse up close and Ghalib comforts him by saying “Bhatere meel aane hain” (many more milestones to come), which clearly specifies that life has just begun and There will be miserable situations similar to those that one will have to face at all times. So accept it and be strong!
Suvinder Vicky steals the show as Ghalib. Evidently, he uses his expressions and deep eyes to convey the miseries of his life. Ghalib, being a good man, adapts to everything, regardless of what life throws at him. In one sequence, he first fires the man who lands at his house to paint flower pots, but then allows him to do it as his late wife would have liked. He realizes that this person is also a daily gamble and his efforts to get to the end must not be in vain. Lakshvir Saran is amazing as the young man who struggles between his desire to be nice and his need for this job and money. All the women in the film are brave and have powerful roles, be it the head of the panchayat sarpanch (Mohinder Gujral), the flat tire repairman (Shanti Devi) or Ghalib’s sister-in-law (Gaurika Bhatt).
Ivan Ayr’s 97-minute film is certainly a reflection of life that will keep you involved. Some may find the pace a bit slow, but the story that revolves around the characters’ life struggles will resonate with you throughout. The movie seems only the beginning, not the end of the road.