‘Nil Battey Sannata’ is a sweet, sanitized and somewhat simplistic story that debutant director Ashwini Iyer Tiwari tells with a light touch and a lot of heart.

The film’s emotional center is the relationship between mother and daughter. They are friends but also foes who compete and fight bitterly.

Writer Nilesh Tiwari nails the fault lines in their bond and both Swara Bhaskar as the mother and Ria Shukla as the daughter deliver strong performances. Swara movingly portrays the anguish of a mother who is desperate to give her daughter a better life.

DOP Gavemic Ary captures the beauty of Agra – the river, the Taj Mahal, the roadside vendors selling jalebi and lassi – all become part of the narrative. The supporting characters are also nicely cast. Yes, there is grief but it never gets grim. Which keeps the stakes low for the audience.

Nil Battey Sannata comes off as slight in places but it does leave you with a sense of hope – and is there any downside to that?

Watch the video below for the full review.