Interestingly, this movie portrays the dance bar enterprise with more professionalism than it does the publishing business. The movie begins with a book reading of a novel called AKS. When the reader at the event turns ashen-faced and wants to know the real name of the author, the publisher has no idea. It was apparently a manuscript sent from a Post Box number in Mumbai. The publishing executives didn’t bother to find out who wrote it.
A frantic search for the writer is then issued. Only after this instruction does the publishing executive sit down to finally read AKS. The story of the film, Barkhaa, then emerges from her reading. It turns out that the shocked reader at the book launch is, in fact, the protagonist of the novel and it is all about how he fell in love with a bar dancer in Mumbai.
The dance bar, on the other hand, has far better management in place. It is run by a South Indian gentleman called Anna (Ashish Roy) and he is very clear that a dance bar may be adult entertainment, but it is not a pick-up joint. He knows each one of his dancers personally, treats them with respect and dignity, and insists that his clients do the same.
Our hero, Jatin (Taaha Shah) had first glimpsed this ‘pahari’ girl, Barkhaa (Sara Loren), in Himachal Pradesh and it was love at first sight. Now he blunders into a dance bar and realises what she does for a living. This is a story as old as the hills Barkhaa comes from, and is packed to the rafters with all the clichés you can possibly think of.
However, what does come through occasionally, despite our scepticism, is a certain purity in the quality of Jatin’s passion and a complete honesty in the manner of Barkhaa’s relationships with people. True, it is an entirely make-believe world that the film gives us, but within that enclosure are a few grains of truth.