Wednesday, November 04, 2009

"Maine Gandhi Ko Nahin Mara" (Language - Hindi) (2005) - Movie Review

Someone in every Indian film industry should have a word with the upcoming directors about the genre of tragedy, sadness and drama. That it is not an emotion which needs to be thrust into the faces of the audience and end with a speech from its characters to achieve a moral closure. Jahnu Barua’s “Maine Gandhi Ko Nahin Mara” (“I did not kill Gandhi”) has the title right enough to grab attention and a fifteen minute short film material which makes its audience wait for an hour and fifteen minutes to get to it. Apart from that, it is a guide to the destruction in the horrendous Indian TV serials the crowd has been given with.

Professor Uttam Chaudhury (Anupham P. Kher) had a good middle class Indian life from the looks of the house with a daughter Trisha (Urmila Matondkar) working in an NGO and a son Ronu (Rajit Kapoor) working abroad. He is close with his daughter and he loves the language of Hindi and the literature to it. One fine day he accidentally goes into a class full of science students and begins explaining the Ramayana. He is at the jaws of the old age when people around him are joking on his forgetfulness than to be worried about it. His youngest son Karan (Addi) looks at him curiously for him to identify. The rude awakening comes when he calls for his wife to serve him food. She died year and half ago. He is into the dreadful spiral of succumbing to dementia.

Trisha an independent woman in her thirties and a boyfriend realizing his conservative parents at this time of disaster is perfect for further failures in this poor woman’s life. Trisha fights tooth and nail with her disintegrating father. Soon he erupts on little things and goes to smiles in seconds. Then it elevates in a meet-the-parents session with his daughter’s prospective in laws. And finally it comes down to the title when we lose the hope, not on the man but on the movie.

Slapping our faces with nothing but the step by step procedure of Uttam’s deterioration and Trisha’s wasteful attempts in explaining the reality to a man losing himself to the disease migrates to pester than tragedy. The old age dementia is not known to many and if some of you are wondering what it is, please go ahead and search the internet for a detailed explanation. It is a horrible disease where it is painful for the loved ones to lose their memory and the fragments of their life gets over without their realization. A film which portrayed that sadness and devastation is “Away from Her”, directed by Sarah Polley and acted wonderfully by Julie Christie as the affected individual and Gordon Pinsent as her spouse going through the ordeal.

Trisha as the devoted daughter is patient and is in denial too of the crumbling mind of her father. The men surrounding her act as this emotionless jerks and they become the villains in this drama. Trisha comes to a stage wherein everything gets away, the man she is supposedly in love with (which there is no semblance of) and a young brat of a brother who is afraid of this responsibility falling on him and consummates losing the job. What drives Trisha is the love for her father but her desperate attempts to salvage the dying brain is beaten with the power of tragedy practiced years by the Indian film industry.

Anupham Kher who is such a capable and talented actor bends over backwards to make this man come to reality. As a calm and educated professor, he charms but when the disease takes him over, director Jahnu Barua exploits on the man. Get Urmila Matondkar along for the ride and it is a cry festival from there on.

“Maine Gandhi Ko Nahin Mara” does not stop out there but goes ahead for a long speech in the end by Uttam on the poor state of the country. Why would he out of the blues begin to vent on the sorry state of the country and the film taking a patriotic mode all of a sudden in a human drama? There is no indication of him being bothered by the India he lives in and the effects of such spoiling his life. For a hindi film running an hour and half with no songs, as much as I would like to appreciate it on the fact to concentrate on the story, Jahnu Barua’s film is nothing exciting and a melodrama at its worst.

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