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August 2015

Manjhi – The Mountain Man

Manjhiposter2

Rating: Will Watch One More Time (* * * * 1/2 – Excellent)

No matter how much I am resisting myself from saying this, I am going to say it out – “F$## you, politicians!!!”

Now let us talk about movie of the week – Manjhi – The Mountain Man and no, it is not a superhero film with any Khan or star kid in the lead. But the actor is a true superstar when it comes to acting and if at all you want to watch this movie, I would recommend to watch for superb performance by Nawazuddin Siddiqui. If I can watch movie like Kick and go through pain of watching Salman Khan for two and half hours just for the sake of enjoying this guy’s performance on-screen, then I was 100% sure that I was going to watch this movie when the trailer first came out a month and half ago. Brilliant story with superb direction, screenplay and some powerful dialogues, brought real Late Mr. Dasharath Manjhi alive on-screen through a flawless, real performance by Nawazuddin.

Story: ‘Manjhi’ is a biopic of Late Mr. Dasharath Manjhi who carved a road through the mountain after his wife died while crossing it because that was the only way to go to the other village back in 1960, until Manjhi completed promise of building a road, which he made to himself and his late wife, in 1982. He kept on digging and carving the mighty mountain for whole 22 years and no rain or draught could stop him while he was doing it. When folks were sharing photos of Dasharath Manjhi on Facebook, some 2-3 years back, one might have felt it as a fake story or some of us would never even have bothered to read about it. But the truth is the man was simply awesome or ‘complete lunatic’ as they call him in the movie. Movie starts in 1956 showing some of the teen years of Manjhi and then jumps 4 years ahead with Nawazuddin coming back to his village leaving his city job. This small village named Gehlaur, somewhere in Bihar has no mode of transportation with neighboring town because of the big mountain surrounding it. Movie takes you shortly through Manjhi’s innocent and crazy love story with his wife – Phaguniya Devi, played by Radhika Apte and some of the crazy things that he does which later explains how this man can be crazy enough to break such a big mountain all with support of basic sledge-hammer for 22 years. He does so because he thinks that his wife died due to lack of basic transportation (with that I mean a normal walking road). His wife dies while she was delivering him lunch to the other side of the mountain when she was pregnant. He managed to take her to the hospital somehow and could save his daughter but her. From that moment onwards he think that mountain is the enemy of his wife and responsible for her death and start breaking it without caring for what anyone would say.

While showing the craziness of Manjhi the movie also takes you through India’s brutal caste system existed in 60s (which does exist now as well – sad but true) and how people were deprived from basic facilities just because they were from lower castes. It also shows corrupt politician’s (from rural area to the central government – no prize for guessing that Congress was power in those times :P) unwillingness for development and providing basic needs to the poor people (again sad but true – which continues today as well).

Acting: Do I need to say anything here? I mean the whole cast is awesome. There is hardly anyone who can be blamed for poor acting in this movie. Nawazuddin has played Manjhi so flawlessly that by the time you finish the movie you have already believed that he is Manjhi. Radhika Apte played Manjhi’s wife with the same strength that it is hard to believe that Radhika is the same girl who played a city girl in movie Hunter – what a versatile actress she is! Apart from the lead actors, this movie has many other finest actors of Bollywood such as Timangshu Dhulia who played upper caste Mukhiya (leader) of the village along with Pankaj Tripathi as his son with brutality and cruelty in their respective characters. Late Mr. Ashraf Ul Haq played Nawazuddin aka Dasharath Manjhi’s father probably in his last movie of his career. Even the new face (at least for me) Gaurav Dwivedi portrayed supporting role of journalist, who supports Manjhi throughout his struggle in the entire movie, excellently.

Verdict: No question the movie is superb not because of the finest actors that it got into it but the direction of Ketan Mehta is also commendable. The overall screenplay and story narration does make you keep watching this movie, which otherwise would have been just like watching some archaeology story from History channel. I would certainly be making a mistake if I do not mention about powerful dialogues which this movie has and dialogue writer needs to be given the credit for it. Now I am not sure if those lines were from real Late Mr. Dasharath Manjhi or the writer’s but they are powerful. The best of these dialogues and my favorite must have to be – “Tum Bhagwan ke bharose baithe ho, par kya pata Bhagwan hi tumhare bharose be baitha ho”. The movie is a must watch. It shows how much the love can be crazy and it should not have to be crazy and real only when someone builds TajMahal for the lover but it can be as much crazier as to break the mountain to build a road, all alone!!!

***I would definitely like to conclude this review with some of the interesting facts (source – Wikipedia)

Mr. Manjhi completed breaking mountain and carving a 360 feet long, 30 feet wide and 25 feet deep in places unmetalled road in 22 years from 1960 – 1982. This cut down the travel distance from Gehlaur to nearest town Wazirgunj from 60 kms to 10 kms. Manjhi died in 2007 suffering from gall bladder cancer and even though Bihar government gave him state funeral, the road was still unmetalled until 2011. Finally Bihar government built a metalled road in 2011, almost after 30 years Manjhi carved the road out of the mountain, all alone. This itself explains how pro-active (or even reactive) Bihar government was.

Here is the picture of  real hero – Late Mr. Dashrath Manjhi

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Ratings:
KILL ME!!! – Zero Star
About to Suicide – *
About to Puke – * 1/2
Got me Headache – * *
Bearable (OK) – * * 1/2
Don’t Use Your Brain Just Watch (GOOD) – * * *
Worth of time (Nice) – * * * 1/2
Paisa Vasool (Awesome) – * * * *
Will Watch One More Time (Excellent) – * * * * 1/2
Just Made It to ‘One of My All-time Favorites’ List (Outstanding) – * * * * *
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Drishyam – Wrong or Wronged?

Rating – * * 1/2

Drishyam-Hindi
Let’s talk about the movie Drishyam (Wrong or Wronged?) – an illusion, mystery, drama, murder, evidence – If you want to get feel of all this then probably Drishyam is the movie you should be watching, of course do not keep any high expectations in terms of overall acting or story line since all leading actors acted decently (not their best, for sure!) and again since this is a remake of a super hit Malayalam movie, everyone might already be aware of the plot. So if anyone on social media praising this movie and acting by leading actors over the top then I would certainly argue that!
Story – Talking about story, the film is about a family oriented man, Vijay Salgaokar, who is not educated enough (4th class pass) but loves his family and can do anything for them. At the same time he does stay all night in his cable tv office just to watch movies without any disturbance from his family but goes to his wife sometime at night when he watches some steamy Bollywood movie in office, really? Now that is what I call a family man :P. So this movie-crazy family man who is altruistic in nature since his childhood, has even adopted a daughter when he was 21 (which later explains why his daughter and wife look like his sisters, actually. Maybe it is because of Actor’s age, LOL).
This ‘ultra-altruistic’ family man, likes to help people in need and save them from injustice of Police and he does so just by gaining knowledge from the movies he watched through several nights – way to go if that works in real life!!! So when his own daughter murders a boy in her in self-defense and while saving her mother, our hero applies all his knowledge and tricks, which he learnt so far from those movies, to save his daughter and his family. The boy who gets killed happens to be the only son of IG of Police – Meera Deshmukh, played by Tabu, and who has been harassing this girl over her nude clip which he captured without her consent. Our family man tries everything that he can to save his daughter and family from police, court and from going to jail. How he does that and succeeds in his efforts is what Drishyam is all about.
While the story is interesting and does take care of most of the flaws that one can find but it is not much convincing. The movie starts slowly and does not really grab your attention until close to intermission. Some of the incidents shown in it do not really make sense but simply have been inserted forcefully in the movie because story-writer wants to convince us that our hero is really helpful and innocent in nature so that when he lies to police while trying to save his daughter, audience may already be in favor of him. But I think that was unnecessary. Because the circumstances under which his daughter committed crime, I personally believe that any strong and good father would have done the same for his family. (In India, where a family of bomb blast convicted can do everything to save him and media can make him hero then I think this crime committed by hero’s daughter hardly matters). The story then tells you all the efforts that hero takes to save his family from a strict police officer who is very sure that the hero’s family has killed the boy but who initially underestimates hero just because he is not well-educated and may not be capable of being so smart with police officer like her.
 
Acting – When it comes to acting, if you want to compare this movie to its other language versions which has stalwarts like Mohanlal and Kamal Haasan in them, Ajay Devgan is not at par but besides that I would say then he had done justice to this character and delivered what the character is all about. Even though he may be known as action hero, over the years Ajay has become a versatile actor and you can see that versatility in this movie as well. Talking about Tabu, she has played really great looking but strict IG of Police in this movie who does not tolerate any non-sense against police force. How I know? Because director has made it sure that audience know this through on of the ‘unnecessary’ incidents in the movie. Personally I feel Tabu played this character well and her acting was good enough for this character but you cannot say it was great (which I heard about other police officer’s character played by other actress in Tamil and Malayalam versions – Again please do not compare :P)
I still did not understand why they needed an actor like Rajat Kapoor to play an insignificant character of Tabu’s husband in this movie. It could have been played by any other actor. The role of Police Inspector who is one of the important characters in the movie as well as story, is played by Marathi actor – Kamlesh Sawant and he did his job well but we have seen him in many other movies with similar kind of roles (and most of the time in Ajay Devgan’s movies only). Rest all actors including Shriya Saran who played role of Ajay’s wife and his elder daughter, played by – Ishita Dutta, did ok job when it comes to acting. I personally did not like Shriya Saran’s acting and I am not even sure if that is her usual acting in each movie since I have not seen any of her movies in the past.
Review – I would say the movie was all about Ajay Devgan and he single-handedly carried it very well while Tabu supporting him, to some extent. Rest all characters did their job okay to bring this remake to the silver screen. Story is  not so great and not so much convincing but I think the overall narration, screenplay and direction was handled well to make it persuading to some extent.
Overall the movie is okay to watch once and is a bit different than your usual Bollywood movies with some twists and turns. The best thing is that it does not have too many songs in it, whoooppiee!!!
And yes, please do not try to compare Ajay Devgan’s acting with that of legends like Mohanlal or Kamal Haasan!!!
 
Ratings:
KILL ME!!! – Zero Star
About to Suicide – *
About to Puke – * 1/2
Got me Headache – * *
Bearable (OK) – * * 1/2
Don’t Use Your Brain Just Watch (GOOD) – * * *
Worth of time (Nice) – * * * 1/2
Paisa Vasool (Awesome) – * * * *
Will Watch One More Time (Excellent) – * * * * 1/2
Just Made It to ‘One of My All-time Favorites’ List (Outstanding) – * * * * *

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