Friday, 2 October 2009

Movie Review: Mumbai Meri Jaan

Mumbai Meri Jaan is a movie I had seen in the theatre (despite of the Censor Board rating it as an ''A'' movie). I wanted to review this movie long back but somewhere I never got the time to do it. As they say, better late than never. Mumbai Meri Jaan is a movie about the serial bombings of suburban trains in Mumbai of 2006 which is a nightmarish incidents the nation would never forget. Mumbaikars still get gooseflesh recalling the ghastly incident. Mumbai Meri Jaan recreates the incident on celluloid, but it is not terrorism per se. It talks about the aftermath of this tragedy and how the lives of five people, not remotely connected or associated with one another, gets affected in the process.

Mumbai Meri Jaan is more of an emotional journey. Five varied stories unveil in those two hours and each story manages to make a statement. Nishikant Kamat's first Hindi venture is one of those films that don't deviate from the core issue. It is not foolproof in terms of writing, but the execution is so compelling that one overlooks the minor blemishes in the narrative. Mumbai Meri Jaan is more of a tribute to the never-dying spirit of this dynamic city called Mumbai. A film that every citizen should watch.

On July 11 2006, the suburban trains, which are known as the lifelines of Mumbai, was struck by a series of bomb blasts. Mumbai Meri Jaan explores the impact of this devastating incident on the lives of people of Mumbai. From a brilliant broadcast journalist Rupali Joshi (Soha Ali Khan) to a patriotic corporate man Nikhil Mathur (R. Madhavan), from a retiring policeman Waghmare (Paresh Rawal) at the twilight of his life to a rookie cop Kadam (Vijay Maurya) at the dawn of his career; from an angry and xenophobic unemployed young man Suresh (K.K. Menon) to a coffee-vendor Thomas (Irrfan Khan) who is struggling to survive and belong: Mumbai Meri Jaan follows the lives of people from all strata of Mumbai's bustling society as they tackle the aftermath of a fatal accident that brings out the best and sometimes the worst in them.

Mumbai Meri Jaan looks at the common tragedy, but diversifies into five different stories at the very start itself. Each of those stories and the characters depicted in those stories are relatable. If you haven't witnessed these people, there is a possibility that you may have read or heard about them through the media.

Amongst the five stories, the ones that leave a strong impression are the Paresh Rawal--Vijay Maurya, Irrfan Khan and K.K. Menon. Soha's story may not appeal as much since it tends to go a little overboard, while Madhavan's story has its moments, but it is not as impactful.

Nishikant Kamat has executed the sensitive subject with gloves, handling each of those five stories with care. A number of emotional moments in the narrative move you and at times, depress no end. Credit must also be reserved for its writer as also the art director, who has recreated the ghastly incident so realistically.

Every performance in the film is applaud-worthy. Paresh Rawal is strictly ok. Irrfan Khan is as always marvellous. K.K. Menon is fantastic and the actor makes his part appear so real. Soha is a huge surprise. She is at her best in the scenes which depict her emotional breakdown at the morgue and you know that she has gradually evolved into a terrific actor. Madhavan is equally competent, conveying so much even when silent. Vijay Maurya is superb and his scenes with Paresh Rawal are good.

On the whole, Mumbai Meri Jaan is a well-intentioned film that should win praise for its execution and performances. It's more for the discerning viewer, for those who swear by serious cinema. Even if you're not a resident of Mumbai, make it a point to watch it because it is a universal theme. On the ratings scale, out of five, three out of five.

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