Release Date: 21st August, 2015
Cast: Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Radhika Apte
Producer/Director: Ketan Mehta
Writer/s: Ketan Mehta, Anjum Rajabali, Mahendra Jhakar
Music Director: Sandesh Sandilya
Plot: A film by Ketan Mehta starring versatile actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui in and as Manjhi along with Radhika Apte playing his beloved wife, this biopic is the story of an ordinary man who performed the extraordinary.
Rating: 3.5/5 Stars (Three and half stars)
Star Cast: Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Radhika Apte
Director: Ketan Mehta
What’s Good: What could have been a bland boring representation of a real life story, Manjhi turns out to be just like his signature dialogue- “Shaandaar Zabardast Zindabad”. This inspiring tale is appalling and gladly brilliantly executed. Manjhi is like India’s Thor – the man with the hammer and a determination even stronger than that!
What’s Bad: Naturally, cinema comes with its requirements and hence the inclusion of a little colored love story with intimacy is presented. Could have been avoided to make it a clean watch for the younger generation so as to invoke virtues of dedication and inspiration.
Loo Break: The interval should suffice!
Watch or Not?: Definitely worth a watch and not online. I would humbly request all readers to honor the work of Dashrath Manjhi and head to theaters for a watch. This story is worth your money!
Dashrath Manjhi’s name needs to be carved out in history for his astonishing work of actually disintegrating a mountain to make a path in Bihar’s Gehlor district. The film flows in a timeline where in we see Dashrath (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) growing up in a poverty stricken village post independence. The Zamindari system is headstrong in his village and even twenty years of freedom has not gotten them rid of their caste system and untouchability.
While a young Dashrath is forced into a child marriage, due to non-payment of taxes, Dashrath’s father decides to sell him off to the Mukhiya as bonded labour. Not agreeing with this, Dashrath flees from his village only to return 7 years later from Dhanbad, where he sought work in the coal mines. Instantly after his return, Dashrath falls in love with Phaguniya (Radhika Apte) in the market and later learns that she is the same girl he married as a child. The duo elope after her father denies marrying them off due to his jobless state. Thus a happy Dashrath soon has a child too. During her second pregnancy, Phaguniya slips from the mountain and dies since the hospital is 55 kilometers away. Her child is saved and Dashrath is now left with his son and new born daughter. As a revenge for taking away his beloved wife’s life, Dashrath decides to break the mountain and make a path through it so that no more people suffer like him.
Thus, over 22 years of back breaking work, he succeeds carving a 360 feet long, 30 feet wide path through the mountain.
Manjhi The Mountain Man Review: Script Analysis
A biopic is always a difficult job but somehow Ketan Mehta manages to keep it quite perfect. The non-liner pattern of story telling keeps you hooked and while the entire village is busy terming Manjhi a lunatic, you are left with nothing but astonishment that how can one man decide to tear down a mountain with a hammer and mind you he is not even Thor.
What works for this script is that at no point do the writers try to sell you Manjhi’s character as a hero, he is the common man but an extraordinary one. The script is taut and with the clearly inserted timelines, the film manages to show the right amount of things in the right amount of time. Dialogues with satirical value are well-written. Struggle and perseverance are the two things that this film rides on. A well researched piece and hence needs to be consumed and promoted by the audiences.
The only portions where the script lags is the fact that they fail to show any focus on Manjhi’s kids. We hardly see any interactions between him and his kids or for that matter anything from their perspective. Sequences such as the dream of Phaguniya and their conversation could have been avoided for getting his kids in focus.
Nonetheless, this story in itself is a winner.
Manjhi The Mountain Man Review: Star Performance
Nawazuddin Siddiqui owns the role of Manjhi. He literally lives through this role and his brilliant act makes this film a compelling watch. There are two heroes of this film – one is the script and second is Nawaz by all means. His hard-work and efforts exemplify what a fine actor he is!
Radhika Apte as Phaguniya does not have much of a screen time but she puts up a good show. Her efforts at learning the Bihari twang seem genuine. She seems to be the new blue eyes girl of art cinema.
Tigmanshu Dhulia plays the character of Mukhiya which is reminiscent of his act as Ramadheer Singh from Gangs Of Wasseypur.
Pankaj Tripathi as the landlord’s son also does a fine job. He seems to have mastered the art of being the villain with a slimy smile across his face.
Gaurav Dwiwedi is a good addition to the supporting cast who plays the role of Alok Jha, the journalist who helps Manjhi’s cause.
Manjhi The Mountain Man Review: Music, Direction
Ketan Mehta seems to have mastered the art of directing biopics. I had completely loved his representation Mangal Pandey : The Rising and once again with Manjhi : The Moutain Man, he leaves no stone unturned. Casting Nawazuddin Siddiqui as the protagonist is the best decision he takes and post that he has nothing to fear. The camera work is excellent and scenes such as a thirsty Manjhi looking badly for water and food or the hair raising scene where he chops off his own finger after being bitten by a snake are deftly handled.
The background score too is powerful enough. For minor portions, the film lags in the first half but the second half picks up well. The first scene of the film itself is a winner where we see a Nawazuddin screaming at the mountain wearing clothes that are drenched in blood.
Mehta defines the fine line between a documentary and a commercial film and strikes the right balance here.