Manjhi-The Mountain Man Movie Review: Ain’t No Mountain High Enough?
Ketan Mehta, known for films like Bhavni Bhavai, Mirch Masala, Holi, Sardar and Mangal Pandey, wields the megaphone for yet another film rooted in the soil of India and we must say that Manjhi-The Mountain Man is, to use its lead character's famous dialogue, 'shandaar, jabardast, zindabaad!'
Starring Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Radhika Apte amongst others, 'Manjhi-The Mountain Man' tells the story of Dashrath Manjhi, who became famous as the Mountain Man after taking it upon himself to single-handedly carve a path through a tough mountain to make his village more accessible to the rest of the region.
Nawaz plays Dashrath, who comes back to his hometown after running away from his home in rural Bihar as a kid to discover that nothing really has changed after all these years. The caste distinction is as strong as ever, with brutal punishment meted out to those who forget their place. However, Dashrath is not too worried about the world around him as he gets reunited with Phagunia (Radhika Apte), his child bride and harbors dreams of a happy family life after marrying her.
When Dashrath's loving wife Phagunia falls to her death while walking along a mountain path, Manjhi decides that enough is enough and sets out to carve a path through the mountain to make the village accessible to other towns with facilities like hospitals and schools.
The difficulties that Dashrath encounters while on his mission forms the rest of the plot.
Nawaz, who has been impressing us since he got noticed in Kahaani, does it yet again with his portrayal of the simple-minded but determined Dashrath. The way Nawaz portrays the stoic determination and the admirable relentlessness of the character is simply awe-inspiring. If a genuine underdog story brings a lump to your throat, Nawaz's Manjhi will do that for you.
Radhika as the village belle Phagunia is bang on and holds her own against her formidable co-star. The scenes between the two will bring a fond smile to your faces, regardless of whether the two characters are bickering or getting lovey-dovey with each other.
Tigmanshu Dhulia as the village headman seems to have walked out straight from the 'Gangs Of Wasseypur' sets while Pankaj Tripathi as the debauched son of the headman is dependable as always.
Mehta comes up with a powerful, touching and heart-rending story with 'Manjhi-The Mountain Man' and Rajiv Jain's cinematography adds to the beauty of the film. The arid landscape in which Dashrath toils, will make your throat feel dry even as your mind tells you that you are not a part of the tough terrain.
However, on the flip side, if you might want to call it that, the movie does not have anything for those who buy a ticket for commercial entertainment. The film has an 'arty' feel to it and might not impress those expecting a larger-than-life hero. Moreover, the second half slightly drags and one keeps wondering when Manjhi's ordeal will end.
All said and done, 'Manjhi-The Mountain Man' is worth a watch for those who don't expect their heroes to have six-pack abs and send goons flying with a lazy punch.
Release Date : 21 August 2015
Director : Ketan Mehta
Genre : Drama