STORY: A member of the Dalit family, Ayyan Mani (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) wants his only son Adi (Aakshath Das) to have what he did not have - a life of privilege, opportunity and respect from all sectors of society. When she realizes that Adi is a child prodigy, Mani begins to bring in her new fame. But is the child ready for all that mic, talk-based talk, and scams that his father has been working on? In this context, director Sudhir Mishra enters a very old class division that is very common in Indian society. And the themes of the haves and haves add to the unmistakable drama of the people in this appropriate episode of cinema.
REVIEW: For as long as he can remember, Korean-born Ayyan Mani and former Mumbai-born have been plagued by news of how his grandfather died on a speeding train - someone whispered in his ear that he had mistakenly boarded the first group room that only meant Brahmins. Indeed, Mani is smart on the road and it is his lifestyle habits that help him move up to the paid profession: he is a scientific assistant to Dr Acharya (Nassar) at the National Institute of Fundamental Research. But being born into a poor farming family in a remote area of Tamil Nadu has a positive effect - Mani loves his **** 'not too cold, not warm' and loves the dough life and dignity of his aankhon-ka - Tara Adi. Calling it a great fortune or a common food-to-play case in play, Adi becomes a genius with complex chemical mechanisms at the end of his tongue. Also, Mani committed a fraud on the side while the nation celebrated the birth of a genius (they called him chota Einstein at one point). If political leaders are willing to take the family out of their two-way calls among other giving, why con? Based on Manu Joseph’s book of the same name, the director of Sudhir Mishra’s ‘Serious Men’ mocks it with a clear comparison (or lack thereof) between the rich and the educated and the poor and naïve for a slight deviation from its original story.
The opening sequence leads us to an unnamed, ugly and unlit seat in Mumbai with the Mani Senior life-changing route through this unrestricted route - “… zindagi bhi aisi hai, complex! Aadmi bematlab hi paida hota hain, marta bhi bematlab hi hai ”- and the next where complete madness, accompanied by unwavering greed and, of course, fraud and incompatibility. The trope is very common: a man from a despised family is hardened by life and all the curveballs he has defended so far and he wants his son better shot at him; we get that. But what makes Sudhir Mishra say 'Serious Men' is the way the story is told - so there it is and it is hidden. Aside from the atrocities facing the Dalit community in India, the story also shakes its shoulders with the proliferation of ‘requests’ to accept Christianity for a better life and a class card that is often played in lower-income communities. It is bold and confusing but no one is angry because Mishra stuck this text with a sarcastic paper wrapped around it. Besides, Nawazuddin Siddiqui has sprinkled Nawazuddin Siddiqui-ness throughout the text and the character is sure he knows how to walk on deceptive trails without rubbing anyone in the wrong way. As I speak, the actor who gives a sigh of relief at this public comment enters Mani's skin as if they were lost brothers. While conversations can easily be forgotten, his speeches at the meltdown are proof of his resilience. Child expert Adi aka Aakshath Das is a cocky young man who shares a great secret with his father and, even at such a young age, walks hand in hand with Siddiqui and their twisted agreement is evident. It is possible that the two have lowered the standard of their moral compass but not God-fearing Oja Indira Tiwari; He measures the balance of the border megalomania out of the other two latch. Shweta Basu Prasad’s Anuja is a child of oppression (with a crippled leg, burn marks and Carnegie Mellon’s degree) in this amazing but her role remains under-defined and it is a crime not to use a good character at all. The characters portrayed by veteran actors Nassar and Sanjay Narvekar (like local politicians and Anuja's father) have little to do with the film other than to defend their selfish ambitions, which they do with aplomb.
Without revealing the twists and turns - all of which can be guessed yet but inclusive - this movie is full of surprises and more often than not it leaves someone scratching their heads (you’ll know why). Filmmaker Alexander Surkala captures the significance of Mumbai and its dark ways and explains the high rise in slums from time to time; thank goodness for that! Karel Antonín's music has this very deep, artistic earring in it that will never go wrong with a film that tries to highlight the great mysteries of life but in the end, both script numbers and their backgrounds are often confusing: surprising and confusing.
Sensitive men in our society are the ‘Sensitive Men’ laughter and while the film manages to highlight the conflict between the older and the more easily abandoned, it fails to conclude what would have been an excellent social discussion at the top of the note. Guess Mishra took Siddiqui's great loyalty with respect, “Public jisko samajhti nahin hain, usko salaam thokti hain; respect karti hain. ”
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