Thursday, January 2, 2014

A Refreshing Take

SAARE JAHAAN SE MEHNGA (2013)

Produced By: Revel Films
Director: Anshul Sharma
Starring: Sanjai Mishra, Zakir Hussain, Disha Pandey, Ranjan Chhabra and others
Pros: Fresh, satirical story, easy to connect with, witty and humorous
Cons: Acting could have been better
Rating: **** of 5 (4 of 5)

In a country that has experienced 10% inflation over the last three years, anger is mounting. And true to the democratic style, that anger is reflecting in cinema. Saare Jahaan Se Mehnga is a movie that most Page 3 critics would write off as an offbeat film, but for the common man, it is as mainstream as it gets. Capturing the harsh truth of back-breaking inflation on a middle class full of aspirations but short of resources, the movie connects with well over 300 million middle class people in India and indeed, virtually everyone except the Top 1%.

Set in small-town Sonipat in Haryana, far detached from the glitz and power of Delhi, the movie comes with fresh wit and humour that make you laugh and think simultaneously. If necessity is the mother of invention, then the middle-class household of Puttan Pal is needy indeed. Poking holes at everything from the pathetic jobs that people do to the disinterested system that everyone is stuck in, it connects easily with everyone who has to buy their own groceries - with a love story added in to reinforce the Indian flavor! The movie will make you laugh and fall into despair at the same time, you might even understand the irony of watching it on TV or in a theater.

Being a small-budget film, it did not get the top-notch actors that movies like Dhoom 3 consider their USP, but the acting was decent. Certainly, it could have been better, but that's all you get on this budget. The music and costumes were average, but the real strength of this movie comes from its story. It's been a long time since a movie got a 4-star rating based almost entirely on its story - reason enough to watch it. (OTFS)

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