In the city of Panjim, Venkatesh and Jhangir are illiterate street kids who hustle to get by. The 17-year-old Venkatesh (Chavan) is a room boy in a hotel, and 11-year-old Jhangir (Badshah) works in a restaurant. In his free time, Venkatesh gazes longingly at an empty house with a beautiful pool in the neighborhood. One day, the owner (Patekar) arrives with his teenage daughter, Ayesha (Mohan). Venkatesh befriends Ayesha, and starts helping Patekar out in the garden. But will he ever get into that pool?
Based on a script set in Iowa, director/co-writer Smith moved the action to India and created a tender, neo-realist tale of growing up. Capturing the bustle of the city, as well as the hopes and dreams of the young protagonists, he also delicately delves into the culture and caste differences that separate Venkatesh and Ayesha. Known for his offbeat documentaries, Smith coaxes credible, moving performances from his cast of mostly non-professionals; only Patekar is a well-known Indian movie star. Modestly scaled, but rich in authenticity and emotion, this Sundance award-winner is a refreshing delight.