I watched “Mumbai Meri Jaan” yesterday. It’s a movie about the post-7/11 serial bomb blast experiences of a few Mumbaikars.
The movie is an honest attempt in filmmaking. It has it’s heart in the right place. It does not try to be too preachy, nor does it try to place the blame on some one section or unit of the society. It’s a movie which portrays in a simple manner, the pre and post blast experiences of a few people. It describes the problem, but does not venture out to provide any solution.
The movie has five parallelly running tracks, each showing the lives of different people. R Madhavan plays an socially conscious person, who has a decent job, opportunites to settle down abroad, but chooses to stay back, and prefers to travels to office daily by the local train instead of a car, which he can afford. Soha Ali Khan plays a modern Indian television journalist, who works really hard to report the news stories that have some kind of an emotional appeal, but in the process being apathetic about the emotional state of the people whom she’s interviewing. In her opinion, her job is well done as long as she gets some salable “sound bytes”. Kay Kay Menon plays a young self employed person, who is mostly seen idling at a small restaurant with his friends. He dislikes Muslims, and doesn’t deal with the people from “Another community” (BTW, a short story by that name, written by R K Narayan, is one of my all time favorites), thereby losing out on a lot of opportunities. Irrfan Khan plays a immigrant from Tamil Nadu, who sells tea for a living, but is pretty much taken aback by the prodigal and nonchalant lifestyle of the “Rich people”. And finally Vijay Maurya and Paresh Rawal play the two police constables. The former is a rookie cop who is frustrated when he realizes that he cannot change the “system”, while the latter is an experienced cop, who has learnt the art of being a spectator.
We’re shown how the lives of these people change with the serial blasts and how they react to it. Madhavan’s character experiences post-blast traumatic experiences and cannot bring himself to travel by the train anymore. Soha Ali Khan’s character ends up at the receiving end of the modern television journalism, by being treated as yet another Prime-Time news story, after her fiance dies in the train blast. Kay Kay Menon’s character starts suspecting every Muslim to be an accomplice in the train blast, and even goes on to spy on one of them, Irrfan Khan’s character plays on the fear-factor by setting up hoax calls, his way of getting back at the rich who he feels, look down upon him. And finally, Paresh Rawal’s character begins to come to terms with the fact that by being a spectator, he hasn’t really done much. There’s more to life than “chalta hai”.
The actors have done their job very well, especially R Madhavan, Kay Kay Menon and Paresh Rawal deserve a word of praise. One can really feel for what they’re experiencing. I didn’t find even a single shot as being wasted. The pace is moderate, but then, this is not a film that fits into the fast paced movie genre.
However, I thought that Irrfan story was a little bit weak. Especially, the scene where Irrfan’s character realizes his folly, was a bit too abrupt. It might have been the editor’s decision to snip any scenes leading to the development of guilt in the character in order to restrict the film within the 2 hour time frame.
Other than that, I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. I would rate it 3 out of 5. Compared to the few movies that have come out in the last fortnight, this one undoubtedly, is the best one.