On August 15, 2015, my blogger friend Jim posted this image on his facebook wall and we exchanged these comments
Jim: “Ramana, thought that you might like this story.”
I: “He is quite a hero here Jim. A biopic has been produced with a very popular film actor depicting his story. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manjhi_-_The_Mountain_Man”
Jim: “Thought he might be inspiring. Have you written post on him?”
I: “No Jim. What I will do is to see the film and then write a review of the film.
Three highly talented people come together to produce a masterpiece of a film based on a true story but to make it appeal to the average Indian film goer adding some mirch masala. Incidentally, one of the three is Ketan Mehta who has actually directed a highly acclaimed film called Mirch Masala! The true story is embellished with some cruelty of the inter caste genre, atrocities against the poor and the marginal, corrupt politicians and babus, but all of these present a realistic background to a remarkable story of one individual’s remarkable achievement.
While Ketan Mehta has written and produced the film, Nawazuddin Siddiqui as Manjhi and Radhika Apte as his wife and inspiration have performed so well that I am yet to recover from their powerful impression on me. The tight editing and excellent photography brings rural Bihar alive and the use of the local dialect is charming and very effective. While I saw a Hindi version, I am told that a version with English subtitles has also been released.
Better research could have saved the producers some embarrassment. Indira Gandhi no doubt to add some comedy, is shown promoting her Hand Symbol for elections when during the period that this incident happens, the INC had not come up with the symbol. Actually, it would have been better comedy, if that was the intention, to show INC’s Emergency time symbol of the cow and calf which has always represented the INC from her time, first with her and Sanjay Gandhi as cow and calf and now with Sonia and Rahul depicting the same!
It is a moving film that leaves the viewer with awe and respect for the determined man and the two plus hours in the theater goes by in a flash. I recommend it highly to discerning viewers with a full[rating=6] rating.