The plot of the film Mohalla Assi centres on a number of little tales centring around just a guy, Dharmnath Pandey (Sunny Deol), who goes by the moniker of “dharam ka rakhwala” – a priest who lives here on Assi Ghat in Varanasi’s holy city. As a Brahman, he despises non-vegetarians in his neighbourhood and is constantly on the lookout for bones.
He’s particularly irritated when his wife gives him “proper” religious advice: “Dharam ke maamle mein toh tum rehne hi do.” People are coming to him begging for favours that are against his values since he is such a strict orthodox. However, the circle of life forces him to make a decision.
The narrative is modelled on Kashinath Singh’s novel “Kashi Ka Assi,” and I can see how it might be intriguing on paper. There are certain instances that may draw your eye, but overall, everything gets dull due to a slew of pointless abuses. I completely understand why people in a certain region speak in a certain way, but you don’t have to go overboard to the point where it becomes irritating. The film has some great aspects, but the negative aspects just add to the dullness. The leaked version of the movie was 160 minutes long, but it was reduced to 120 minutes, resulting in a noticeable abruption.
Regardless, many sequences are merely for the purpose of it, and those, too, are quickly chopped, bringing us to another pointless scene. This only adds to the agony of seeing the movie all the way to the finish. Also, the tale is told over the course of ten years, and everyone (save Dharmnath’s children) has the same appearance.
Sunny Deol in the movie Mohalla Assi is not ‘the’ Sunny Deol. You don’t connect with Dharmnath because of his sloppy depiction of him throughout the film. He appears indifferent from the first frame and continues to do so until the conclusion. He has a speech wherein he goes to be doing his high-pitched yell, and it’s completely fake that round.
Sakshi Tanwar is terrific in her part, but even just a ‘Firangi’ can’t salvage a picture if the script is terrible. She might be a little over-the-top at moments, but that’s due to how badly her personality is drawn. Ravi Kishan is the movie’s silver lining since he receives some great lines and a fun role to play. He helps justify his part and embellishes it with his typical eccentricities. The ‘chai gang,’ which includes Saurabh Shukla, Mukesh Tiwari, and a few more actors, is a motley bag of excellent actors portraying extremely ordinary characters.