Manjhi: The Mountain Man review.
written by Souranath Banerjee
My Ratings: 4/5
A man who is blinded by rage, a man who believes in true love, a man who has nothing else to loose, a man with tremendous willpower, a man with a mission.
Gehlaur was surrounded by hills and the nearest town with school and hospital facilities was almost 70 km away, and that too one had to take a path around the difficult mountain road.
After the death of Manjhi’s wife Falguni Devi (she accidentally slipped and fell from the mountains and couldn’t survive due to delayed medical treatment), Manjhi in a feat of madness vowed to take revenge on the treacherous Gehlaur mountains and cut it down to make a short-cut road for the benefit of his fellow villagers.
And incredibly enough Manjhi kept his word.
It took him 22 years but Dashrath Manjhi, single-handedly, with only a hammer and a chisel did slice the mountain and made a passage through it, reducing the distance from his village to the nearest town to a mere 15 Km.
An achievement of which even Thor (the mythological God of thunder always seen with a hammer) would probably be jealous or even proud of.
The film Manjhi: The Mountain Man tries to depict the passion and determination of Dashrat Manjhi. And it succeeds too to an extent but in a very ‘bollywoodish’ and filmy way!
Ketan Mehta, undoubtedly a talented director with a vision but in this case his job becomes easier because of the choice of casting.
Nawazuddin Siddiqui as we all know is the one of the finest actor in India and he himself admitted in a recent interview that playing the role of Manjhi is his best performance till date. Probably it’s not just promotional talk but he is telling the truth!
Nawazuddin easily transforms himself from the easy-going comic lover to a delirious victim of love. The madness in his eyes, his hysterical laughter, the frantic resolution and the demented strength of character – i can’t imagine anybody else performing such a challenging character.
Radhika Apte, playing Manjhi’s wife (Phaguniya), has also done a great job. In her no-blouse-saree-draped costume, she is the perfect combination of innocence and seduction.
The mountain man’s journey wasn’t an easy one – not only for the sheer physical strength that was demanded for the job but also because the ignorant man was repeatedly mocked, harassed, cheated and once even arrested.
But the important lesson to learn is that he never stopped doing what he believed is right.
Darshat Manjhi is a legendary figure in his own right; though this 120 min film may not be that legendary but it surely made Manjhi a much more popular legend than before.