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Blue Umbrella

Blue Umbrella is Vishal Bharadwaj's brilliant adaptation of Ruskin Bond's short story. Ruskin Bond is something akin to R K Narayanan of the North. Malgudi is replaced by the various villages in the foothills of the Himalayas. The same earthy nativity is maintained in Bond's tales as in the works of RK. Among Bond's works, I can faintly recall the 'Train stops at Shamli' or is it 'Time stops at Shamli'. This was part of the prose in my high school.

Bharadwaj is a rarity among Indian directors in that he seeks established literary works for his movie plots. His first movie was the kids flick, Makdee which I am yet to see. Omkara was based on Othello and Maqbool was based on Hamlet.

In BU, he shrugs the cast of big names with Pankaj Kapoor being the only known name. The story telling is at an easy pace. The songs are at once melodious and engaging.

It is a very simple plot. A ten-year old or something close to that, Binya, trades her precious leopard tooth necklace for a bright blue umbrella froBum a tourist. This umbrella becomes the object of desire for the entire village. May it be the teacher's wife or the crafty shop keeper. Eventually, the umbrella gets stolen. Binya suspects the shop keeper Nandu to be behind this. The local police raid  his house and come empty handed. Nandu makes a big scene and vows that he won't touch his favorite pickle until he buys a glorious umbrella for himself. Very soon he does get a red umbrella that elevates his status in the village. The rest of the tale is about shifting importance in the social scale for the two protagonists especially Nandu. The tale ends with the kind of translucent justice that only a child of ten can come up with.

Go for the story and stay for the visuals. The Himachal area is captured wonderfully and the scene in the snowfall rivals the best that the west and the east have to offer.


  1. Hi Reeta,
    Good to see that you are reading 'Time stops at Shamli'. Time for me to revisit that story.

  2. Suresh. S10:10 PM

    The story is " The train stops at Shamli" in which the protagonist falls for a flowerseller, a girl in the platform of the railway station. Though I did not study this as prose, my juniors had this as a prose in Tamil Nadu state board education syllabus.

  3. Suresh, You should try it. It is a delightful short story.