Saturday January 18, 2020

Manjhi: A story of perseverance, love and exploitation

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By Priya Sankalp

Faith can move mountains and love can build bridges. These words were epitomized by a simple man of Mushar community which is notorious for eating mice in the remote parts of Bihar. Dashrath Manjhi was a laborer in the agrarian society of India which was on the verge of getting rid of its landlords and was all set to embrace the extremism of Naxalism which emerged to correct the harsh anomalies of the rural society.

nawazuddin-radhika-manjhi-7When we think about the real life of a dalit man who is struggling in the rough and dry terrains of Gehlaur, Gaya, there is not much romance in it. The melodrama of Nawazuddin Siddiqui in the reel life must be entirely missing from the real life of Dashrath Manjhi, who worked hard to meet both ends and suffered the oppressions of nature and men alike. But the love for his wife (who died due to lack of timely medical assistance) and his will to cross the ominous heights of the mountain made Dashrath different from thousands of other men.

Kudos to Ketan Mehta for choosing a subject which might be considered untouchable for the film fraternity. After all, it lacks the bollywood masala and the guarantee of reaching the elite crores club. Nawazzudin Siddiqi is setting a benchmark for the future generations through his acting. Tears look real in his eyes and the game of pillows brings the eroticism of a man.

Radhike Apte’s beauty sizzles throughout the movie. The grandeur of the mountains is well captured and the songs seem relevant. However, the movie could have been shortened in its length.

The mountain man’s story is that of grit and tenacity of a man who despite all the odds, walks to Delhi from Gaya along the railway tracks to meet the Prime minister. The hostile attitude of his fellow men and nature’s fury obstruct him, but he keeps hammering the stones. This takes him 22 years and finally, he carves out a road from the unrelenting mountains. Hearts soar high with Manjhi’s challenge to the gigantic rocks.

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The road excavated by Manjhi

This movie is a must watch despite its minor shortcomings because it does not bloat about the sweetness of saccharine, instead it gives the taste of jaggery mixed with a few grains of sand at a nondescript.

 

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Talent Is Gender Neutral: Nawazuddin Siddiqui

The gender of the storyteller does not matter, says Nawazuddin Siddiqui

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Nawazuddin Siddiqui
While working with a filmmaker, Nawazuddin Siddiqui is not concerned with the gender of the storyteller. Wikimedia Commons

National Award-winning actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui has worked with several talented female filmmakers in his career. Nandita Das called the shots in “Firaaq” and “Manto”, Reema Kagti directed “Talaash” and, recently, Tannishtha Chatterjee wielded the megaphone in the upcoming “Roam Rome Mein”. Siddiqui says as an actor he does not differentiate between talents based on gender.

“When I work with a filmmaker, I am not concerned about the gender of the storyteller. For me, whether it is Nandita or Tannishtha, they are talented storytellers. They came to me with a vision and I am participating in telling their stories on screen. For me, what matters the most is creativity, and I have to be on the same wavelength with the director. Talent should not be celebrated on the basis of gender. So, when Tannishtha was directing me, not for a single moment did I feel that a woman was giving direction. For me, it was a talented human being I was collaborating with,” Nawazuddin told IANS.

Actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui
Nawazuddin Siddiqui is a strong believer in the fact that art has no language. Wikimedia Commons

Tannishtha’s “Roam Rome Mein” has been in then news lately for the response that the film has been eliciting in the festival circuit. Apart from its India premiere at the Jio MAMI 21st Mumbai Film Festival, the film has travelled to Busan International Film Festival and Rome Film Festival.

Set in Rome, the film features Vineet Kumar, Isha Talwar and Italian actors Urbano Barberini and Pamela Villoresi along with Nawazuddin and Tannishtha.

Nawazuddin says he is happy with the positive response the film received from global audiences, but it is special to be back home.

Also Read- Ayushmann Khurrana: Bollywood’s Unlikely Hit Machine

“There are a few sequences in the film where the humour is very ‘desi’, which one cannot really translate into another language. Here in Mumbai, people are laughing during those scenes and enjoying. We are so happy to see such a response. I am a strong believer in the fact that art has no language but at the end of the day, nothing like sharing our film with our audience,” added the actor. (Bollywood Country)