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Mumbai Meri Jaan

  | March 07, 2014 09:48 IST
Mumbai Meri Jaan
  • Genre:
  • Cast:
    Kay Kay Menon, Irrfan Khan, Soha Ali Khan, Madhava
  • Director:
    Nishikant Kamat
  • Producer:
    Ronnie Screwvala
The modern city of Mumbai is a collage of seven islands. Toward the end of Mumbai Meri Jaan, a retiring police constable, skillfully enacted by Paresh Rawal, wonders if the seven train bombs, which killed over two hundred people, will divide the city again. It's perfectly observed moments like this that make the film worth watching. Mumbai Meri Jaan follows six characters and the impact the 2006 train blasts has on their lives. So a young professional who refuses to buy a car because he doesn't want to add to the city's nightmarish traffic, finds that he cannot board a train anymore because it gives him anxiety attacks. A television journalist, whose fiancée is killed in the blasts, becomes prime time fodder herself as her intrusive colleagues turn her grief into a show called: Kyun Rupali bani Rudali. Two lowly constables help each other grapple with the brutal and indifferent system, which grinds good intentions into dust. An educated but unemployed young man spends his day concocting communal conspiracy theories. Bullying an old, Muslim man on a road somehow dulls his own frustrations. Director Nishikant Kamath ably captures the compounding of tragedies in a city like Mumbai. These are people in grief, creating more grief. At yet, at the end of this dense film, we leave with a glimmer a hope, that despite everything, humanity prevails. Nishikant is a filmmaker with range: he's directed the National Award winning-Marathi film Dombivili Fast but also written the appalling Neha Duphia call girl drama Julie. So Mumbai Meri Jaan veers between poignant scenes that wring your guts and clumsy sermonising that is almost comical. Interweaving so many narrative tracks requires great skill and Nishikant loses his grip for long patches in the film. Irfan Khan plays an angry tea-seller who starts to make hoax bomb threats to malls after he is thrown out from one. This track is especially unconvincing. Post-interval, the tension dissipates and toward the end, there is some heavy-handed dialogue underlining the fact that terrorism is a global scourge. But the film's good intentions and its performances make up for the flaws in craft and writing. All the actors from Madhavan to Vijay Maurya are in fine form. There is a dignity and stillness in their suffering that speaks louder than any melodrama. Mumbai Meri Jaan is quietly evocative. I recommend that you see it.
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