Saturday, August 22, 2015

Manjhi: The Mountain Man - Excitement killed by expectations

The story of Dashrath Manjhi's life is really inspirational. Losing your loved one at an early stage of life and then dedicating your life for cause you believe in (but stupid for the society), fulfilling the promise you made to your loved one. Really inspiring life of beating all odds and overcoming all challenges and being a revolution.
That's a short description of Dashrath Manjhi, who is an inspiration for this film. And to have Nawazuddin Siddiqui play the character of such a man works for the film. Nawazuddin Siddiqui's presence on screen is the strongest point in the film. But Radhika Apte's character as Falguni Devi doesn't have much screen time. But that's just how it is.
I was excited to watch this film for many reasons - Dashrath Manjhi,  hype around the film, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Radhika Apte, Ketan Mehta's direction. Everything will work for the film and help it recover its cost and Manjhi will be called a success. But, is it a great film? My answer is - No. The entire film suffers due to Bollywoodization (that is not a word, but you get what I mean) of the story. The 1st half suffers more than the 2nd half. At a little over 2 hours (2 hours and 5 minutes to be exact), I feel there was a scope for a lot that could have been focused on, rather than rushing through his (Manjhi's) life. If not, the run time could have been around 1 hour 45 minutes.
I know people have vivid, weird imagination but Dashrath Manjhi's dreams (in the film) were touching the skies and beyond. Manjhi (film) has a typical Ketan Mehta touch to it, which is a good thing and also bad. Ketan Mehta's touch works for the film's portrayal of the friction between Manjhi and the society (including politics, family and friends). But it goes a bit off track when the film switches to the flashback scenes. The music is good. Just when you try to establish a connect with Manjhi's character, the film ruins it by bringing in the Bollywood element.
My expectations were high from this film, but I was a bit disappointed with the approach taken and the treatment given to this life adaptation. So if you are a fan of Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Radhika Apte or Ketan Mehta's films, then you can watch this.