Back in July 2006 when 7 bombs ripped through the city, I was in Amsterdam. The phone network went down and by the time life and the network returned to normal, 3-4 hours had passed. Those three-four hours had me tensed when I tried reaching my family. The horror of a terror attack and helplessness was quite evident that day. How do you deal with violence on you and your family from totally unknown people?
Nishikant Kamat’s “Mumbai meri Jaan” looks back at the 7/11 local train bombing through the eyes of 6 characters. The bombing changes the way they see and feel about life, death and terror.
Its about a television journalist who strives for news accessing remote and dangerous regions and situation only to find herself being news. Its about a executive who understands his responsibilities as a citizen only to find his determination shattered. Its about a retiring police constable who starts questioning his own action of not asking questions. Its about a newly joined cop who is frustrated by the way the “system” works and knows it wrong but fail to understand that he is the system. Its about a jobless youth angry about Muslims and consider all of them terrorists. Its about a coffee vendor who get an unexpected weapon of hate to take revenge of his insult.
The movie starts with Jawarlal Nehru’s independence speech and shows Mumbai from the time of independence to the present time. It starts with the life of the six individuals in thier everyday’s life just before the blasts. The way they live reflects in their every day life. Be it Madhavan’s need to be responsible for the society or KayKay’s hatred against Muslim or Vijay Maurya’s helplessness as a cop.
The blast changes everything. Madhavan who promotes public transport luckily misses the bomb blast, Soha Ali loses her fiancee and becomes a news herself, kaykay is out to take revenge on every Muslim who he thinks had a hand in the blast, Irfan Khan who is out to take revenge of his insult using the bomb scare. Paresh raval, who has accepted the way the system works, and Vijay maurya, the newly joined police constable who has problem adjusting in the system. And thier life cross as they come in term with the changed world full of violence searching for hope and peace.
Its not about the bomb blast but the effect of a tragedy on people’s well protected life. The thinking of “It cannot happen to me” is shattered for many people and the way they deal with it forms the story of MMJ.
MMJ is sensitive as people deal with the tragedy in thier own way. Some reacting with violence and some shutting themselves from the world. Right from the start, the movie explore the human psyche rather than the voilence of the crime. The movie tugs the heart. The scenes are subdued and not melodramatic. There is no big speech. Of course there is a message but then it comes from the action of the people and not from big dialogs. MMJ explores human fear and the inability to deal with the situation.
But each character learns. Learns to live with fear and hope. Many heart tugging scenes almost bring a tear in the eyes. The best one is the helplessness of the rookie cop, Vijay Maurya when he tries to kill himself. Watch Paresh Rawal and Vijay Maurya excel without even speaking a word. Irfaan Khan dealing with insult he faces in a mall with his child and wife. Madhavan watching his friend lose a hand. Vijay Maurya defending tainted cop, Sunil More. Paresh Rawal explaining the importance of restraint to KayKay.
The above and many scenes make the movie worthwhile. There is no comic scene in between. There are smiles but no laughs and still the movie never lingers or slows down.
All the actors have done extremely well. Paresh Rawal, Madhavan, Soha Ali Khan, Irfan Khan and Kay Kay. Vijay Maurya is a discovery here. It must be his first big role and he is excellent.
But the main hero is the story and the director. The story walks a thin line between being melodramatic and sensitive and it succeeds to be heartwarming and hopeful. After the successful and brilliant, “Dombivli Fast” Director Nishikant Kamat comes back with another winner. Giving two brilliant movies back to back is an acheivement.
MMJ is a good cinema. The camera, the actors, the pace, the direction, the special effects everything has been over the top. It is certainly not escapist cinema. Overall a brilliant movie