Welcome to Sajjanpur (Shyam Benegal) India

Welcome to Sajjanpur                                                                                                       Shyam Benegal                                                                                                                        India. 2008. 130 min

Sajjanpur (roughly translates to town of gentlemen) narrates its tale through the voice of a letter-writer, the only educated man in this village somewhere in interior India. Amidst the rural setting and the small-town problems, Benegal does what he does best – portray the human condition that is generalizable beyond the story he chooses. His protagonist is an aspiring novel writer, and we the audience become essentially his target readers as he publishes a novel with the story of his life. So, in effect, the satirical exaggeration of the village-ness of the characters, is through his eyes. Being the only one with education, he views a lot of the events with amusement. As a letter-writer, he is in a perfect position to observe, as all correspondence – personal or business – goes through him. Yet, despite himself, he does not maintain detachment from the people who come to him everyday.