The Lift Boy is a coming-of-age tale of engineering student Raju (Moin Khan) who belongs to a considerably lower financial class. His father, Krishna (Saagar Kale) used to work as a lift operator since he was a child. Eventually, after his sudden heart-attack, Raju has to fill in his shoes and work as a lift-boy until his father gets better. Having studied in an English-medium school and with a load of comfort, this job doesn’t particularly interest him. Apart from that, his English-pronunciation is so good that the building-owner, where he was supposed to work, can’t believe that he’s Krishna’s son.

The Lift Boy” is screening at London Indian Film Festival

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With the millennial-culture rising in India, there’s a surge of high-octane dramas where the central character is looking for some kind of escape from its reality. With the likes of Tamasha to 3 Idiots, this new generation seems to over-think about work-satisfaction than accepting responsibility as a mature adult. The usual 9-to-5 conformists are considered to be boring while boredom is becoming the constant part from their own lives. Moreover, such rebel-dramas are glorified without actually understanding the reality. While some of the gems like “Udaan” often succeed in presenting the escape with stark realism, most of such films feel like a repetition of themes. Jonathan Augustin’s ‘The Lift Boy’ falls in the same vein. But the film ends up being a complete misfire with churned-out formula while dealing with already-known themes.

As we move along, we get to know that apparently the building owner, Maureen (Nyla Masood), took care of most of his education. As a result, Krishna served her for many years as a form of fulfilling that huge debt. Oblivious to this fact, Raju isn’t particularly aware of his responsibility.  So, like every other young adult from his age, he can’t focus on his studies, while indulging on his dreams of becoming a writer. He considers himself to be a holier-than-thou aspiring writer, who belongs to a different class altogether. It is apparent from his behavioral pattern towards a maid as opposed to the wealthy owner. His arrogance seems to arrive from a lack of understanding of himself as a person.

Maureen, as she gets to know him better, realizes his disinterest to have rooted in his laziness and a lack of the sense for responsibility. Meanwhile, Raju’s personality grows from being a naïve, indifferent brat to a sensible and kind human being while working as the lift-boy. He occasionally meets Princess (Aneesha Shah) and her pushy mother who desperately wants her to be a star than a good-for-nothing actress. Their interactions give a breath of fresh air to Raju from his apparent hectic schedule. Consequently, his life-lessons are presented in the film further.

Even though the central conflict of a rebellious young adult has become a regular topic, the script could have been elevated with a better understanding of its narrative. Sadly, the situations appear too contrived to compel a viewer in order to think about him. Even the dialogues are too patchy that seem to have come from the caricatures of those characters than the characters themselves. Probably the only character which seems to have a semblance to the reality is his friend Shawn (played by Damian Alexander D’Souza), who encourages him from time-to-time while working with the right attitude to sustain the job that he has. Even while grieving over a lost girlfriend, his dialogues seem more lifelike amidst all the archaic characters.

Nyla Masood, who plays Raju’s friend-philosopher n’ guide, is wasted in this film. Her acting abilities even with the minimum material she received to act on, outshine other performances.  Besides, some of the scenes and dialogues seem to be added only for the sake of his character arc, which often feels contrived even with the earnest intentions. The feel-good slice-of-life dramedy doesn’t get a consistent lead either. Moin Khan, who brings authenticity in some of the scenes, sounds equally insincere and fake in the others. Especially during the moments of surprise, his overall approach feels too exaggerated to be taken seriously. The interactions, like the ones with Princess, seem only interested in petty expositions that have already been registered on viewers from the countless indie-films from the same genre.

When the foundations are so weak, one might assume the craft to level up a little. But even in that department, the unflattering lights, especially during the morning scenes, which look poorly lit, instantly diverts the viewer’s attention. The color palette that he wants to show throughout the film also seems like a gimmick to beautify the shallow and contrived plot. In the end, “The Lift Boy” achieves barely anything with its cliché approach.

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