After persistent time spent keeping the bright hope and undaunted determination towards a goal, many of us fall back, give up; never to realize that it only expected us to strive for a little longer to achieve what we have been aspiring for so long.
Manjhi-The Mountain Man teaches us two things- Perseverance and ‘Where there’s a Will, there’s a Way.’
The film is a biopic on Dashrath Manjhi, a man from Gehlaur, Bihar who singlehandedly starts an uphill task of reducing a mountain to a rubble to avenge his wife’s death. It takes him good long 22 years to achieve this feat; all for love.
Ketan Mehta, the man behind socially relevant films like ‘Mirch Masala,’ ‘Bhavni Bhavai,’ ‘Mangal gave this inspiring film with commendable acting from Nawazuddin Siddiqui playing the protagonist Dashrath and Radhika Apte as his wife Phaguniya.
The story revolves around Dashrath who had fled from the village in Gehlor district to Dhanbad to work in coal mines instead of working under the tyrant landlord (Tigmanshu Dhulia) only to return after 7 years clad in red pants, yellow shirt and falls in love instantly with the village’s damsel Phaguniya (Radhika Apte).
What follows in the film is stark exhibit of the atrocities by the landlords, the terrible casteism, plight of the ‘untouchables’ and corruption. The duo (Dashrath & Phaguniya) elopes after her father denies her marriage to Dashrath due to his jobless state. After giving birth to a son, Phaguniya is expecting another child when tragedy strikes the happy family and she falls off the mountain. Since the hospital is 55 Km away, she dies while the daughter is saved. Left with a newly born daughter and a son, Dashrath starts his journey of taking revenge from a mountain by making a path through it so that no more people suffer like him.
And so, after 22 years of back breaking work with a hammer and a chisel, he succeeds in carving a 360 feet long and 30 feet wide path through the mountain.
The story of a man against a mountain may seem to be stranger-than-fiction but Nawazuddin portrays the character of Dashrath effortlessly and with such finesse, you are occupied in the entire film and you only sit and wonder- what a fine actor he is! Radhika Apte shares not much of the screen but she puts up a nice show.
The characters played by Tigmanshu Dhulia and Pankaj Tripathi might seem to be reminiscent of their act from Gangs of Wasseypur. Gaurav Dwivedi who plays the supporting role of journalist Alok Jha is a good addition.
The film showcases the intensity by which a man, called as a lunatic by the village people, including his own father leaves no stone unturned. There are scenes such as a thirsty Manjhi looking for water, chopping his own toe after snake bite, sitting in jail with half broken hope, screaming at the mountain wearing blood stained clothes will make you relate to the character Manjhi, while silently wishing Nawazuddin to bag all the awards for this film next year.
While the script is handled carefully with few strong dialogues such as ‘Jab tak todenge nahi, tab tak chhodenge nahi,’ sequences of intimacy between the lead actors, dream sequences and their conversations could have been avoided.
This 124 minute long film about a man trying to pull down a massive mountain leaves a strong effect on your head to never to give up and persevere no matter how hard the road ahead is. This film deserves a watch, not only for outstanding performance by Nawaz but to truly acknowledge and learn about the true legend- Dashrath Manjhi.