Manjhi- A blend of eloquence and melodrama

Posted by Gargi Batabyal
February 19, 2017

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Manjhi- the mountain man:official film poster

Tied in the loopholes of Indian politics and ill-treated ways of identifying humanity, in surge of freedom and reconstructing the psyche is what director Ketan Mehta’s attempt in “Manjhi-The Mountain Man”. It is inspired by the story of Dashrath Manjhi, who lived in the Gehlore village in Bihar: close quarters to the hills which killed his wife after her attempt to cross it.After her death, Dashrath vows to present the bouquet of love to his spouse by making a path through the mountain single-handedly. This outrageous attempt of Manjhi back in 1960’s now has provoked the government to make a road in 2011. Ketan Mehta with the associate productions from Viacom 18 motion pictures and National Film Corporation of India has elaborated Dashrath Manjhi’s journey from the villager to a preacher of humanity in the two hour roll out.

Released in 2015, ‘Manjhi’ suffered few technical faults which led to the movie’s leak prior to its release date. Controversies apart, Nawazuddin Siddique as Dashrath Manjhi deserves applause but to his genre of acting ,nothing is ‘the best’. Tigmanshu Dhulia’s appearance as the village mukhiya is one of the sterling performances in the movie. Radhika Apte’s use of the rusty accent could have been better, but with simplicity and blend of her dark beauty she chiseled for the camera and the situation. ‘Manjhi – The Mountain Man’ can be referred as the biopic journey of Dasrath Manjhi, where after fleeing from the shackles of slavery to the mukhiya, Dashrath returns to Gehlore as the ex-worker at cones mines in Dhanbad. Married offat a young age, Dashrath resurgences to the lake of romantics with his wife Faguniya (Radhika Apte),now a damsel of charm. Mehta symbolizes the finer nuances of life and prosperity with Faguniya working on rice seeds,making chapattis. A menagerie at work, Faguniya even finds to indulge in Dashrath’s ‘taakiya demands’! The background score by Sandesh Shandilya swoons in every situation – be it the Faguniya Dashrath romance, the tussle between the lower castes ‘musahar’ or the rat eaters and the mukhiya, later Manjhi’s achievements were contrasting with the sociopolitical  changes like Naxalite movements, declaration of emergency in the nation and Indira Gandhi’s visit at the local rally.

Life is not of charms but one has to bleed on the thorns of life : Dashrath is not an exception either. His struggle are much more vivid as on his idea of paving path through the hills,he being an “untouchable” had to deal with mukhiya and the Prime Minister eventually befriended with the local newspaper editor Alok Jha(Saurav Dwivedi) was a helpful one, as it was Alok’s articulation of Manjhi that set the latter free from the police stations, brought his issue to the national level and gave Dashrath undergo his right to information regarding the allotted funds. ‘Manjhi-The Mountain Man’ is a time travel where 1960’s to millennium years events are well narrated and presented. Along with the cinematography , the direction of this movie is a successful venture unless it reaches its typical Bollywood box office friendly romantic melodramas between Dashrath and Faguniya.

Bitten by instances like rampaging homes by mukhiya’s men, torturing women and ill-treating workers at the brick furnace factory ‘Manjhi-The Mountain Man’ is also melodramatic : something that is a contrast. Agreeing to the fact that the plot based is a rural land and factual instances have to be marked, the second half of the movie yet is amateur to the pre interval section, where the psychic differences in Manjhi’s mind is well focused. The visual effects could have been better, because to symbolify rains, water drops and music with Faguniya bringing harvest to Manjhi’s mind is enough. So, the waterfall was not well justified. Furthermore, ‘Manjhi’ though has some well written verses by Deepak Ramola, music is not well co-related. For example: when Dashrath determines himself to pave a road, the music played is quite a cliche. From zooming in with the tongs of hammer and sweat drips on Manjhi’s forehead, the music somewhere has a Bollywood circumference: for which entertainment matters, not the content.

“Love’s Labor Lost” though said Shakespeare, Manjhi says the pockets of sunshine stays at our own hearts, it’s better we wait for the dawn. Because in these troubled times of bureaucrat supremacy, well- hammered ideas engraved with fine chisel is what we need.

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