Eleven Days is Directed by Jaginder Singh, and is about a boy named Ajit, who after a family tragedy, has to embark on a journey to get to his older brother Sarjit before he is deployed to fight in the war against terror. The story behind the title revolves around an Indian tradition called “Antim Ardas” in which if a family member passes away, the oldest member of the family must offer the last prayer, or “Antim Ardas” so that the deceased’s soul can rest in peace. Ajit only has 11 days before Sarjit is deployed, and if he doesn’t get to him in time they won’t be able to perform the prayer for their family member. The film centers on Ajits journey to find his brother, and I personally had a very good time following him in this movie.
The first act beautifully sets up the story, first introducing the older brother Sarjit, and exploring his struggles with how the world sees him and his family, as he is desperate to help fight against the terrorist groups that so many ill-informed and bigoted people assume he is a part of, purely based on his skin color and faith. His father Rajveer is adamant on Sarjit not going to war, not wanting to see his oldest die. The story needed these moments to care about Sarjit when Ajit finally sets out to find him. The stakes are high to find Sarjit, and through Ajits story that begins once his brother heads to training, we become invested in both characters. Ajit is a quiet and determined boy, played by Jit Singh in a very good performance for the young actor. There are great character moments that Singh nails, and is the heart of the story. He faces many challenges in diverse settings, from traveling through the city to the wilderness, he really goes through everything to get to his brother. People are introduced throughout the film that helps Ajit, the standout of those performances being Cindy, who helps him in the city, after being mugged on his first day. Her character wasn’t heavily involved in the story, however, I feel served an important part and was a standout performance amount the supporting cast.
The cinematography is very well done. There are great wide shots of deserts, forests, and adds a ton to the production value of the film, and a lot of great moments to gawk at if you’re an indie film-nerd. The dialogue was well written and the screenplay is very well thought out and executed. The director has a lot to be proud of with this film, and it deserves to be nominated for a screenplay award.
Some minor issue I had with the film was from the sound mixing and song choices. In some scenes where you have had a steady tone set, the whole mood changes with out of place music and sound effects that take you completely out of the movie. At one point when someone is falling down, you hear a very cartoonish sound effects, there are even some stale fart jokes in it. There was some time I noticed the audio sync was off with the actors and what they were saying, perhaps this was done in post-production due to some sound issues while filming? These aren’t deal-breaking issues and because of the strong story it doesn’t affect the overall viewing pleasure of Eleven Days, nonetheless, it is a bit distracting at the moment.
Overall I had a really good time with Eleven Days. It has heart, strong characters, an engaging main character and a unique spin on a proven story formula. I would say this is one of the better independent films I’ve seen this year and is worth consideration for awards.