Movie Review: Manjhi-The Mountain Man (2015)
The story starts off with a ‘conversation’ between Dashrath Maanjhi (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) and a humongous mountain, in which he cries his heart out before the mountain with all the aggression. The ‘heat’ of his conversation is so much that it (quite literally) sparks off a fire! The story then gets into a flashback mode wherein it shows all the events that lead him to the present day situation. The flashback shows Dashrath, who hails from a totally backward class, getting married to Phaguniya (Radhika Apte) during childhood itself. Because of his father’s inability to pay the debts, he plans to leave Dashrath with the village’s merciless Mukhiya (Tigmanshu Dhulia) as his domestic help. But the self-respecting Dashrath bites off his father’s hand and runs away from the village itself… only to return after a gap of seven long years. While he sees that things haven’t changed much in the village in terms of progress, his love life blooms the very moment he sets his eyes on Phaguniya. His joy knows no end when he discovers that Phaguniya is no one else but the same girl whom he got married to in his childhood. After all the drama that takes place because of his unemployment, Dashrath and Phaguniya run away from the ‘clutches’ of their parents, only to live a peaceful life forever. Dashrath loves her so much that his life becomes impossible without her. After the delivery of their first child, Phaguniya conceives for the second time. The dutiful wife that she is, she climbs the hilly mountains to bring lunch for Dashrath, who works incessantly in order to give his family a happy life. One day, pregnant Phaguniya, while climbing the hills, slips from there and passes away after delivering her second child. Unable to bear the grief of the sudden death of her wife, Dashrath feels that the hilly ‘egoistic’ mountains are the killers. In order to teach these mountains a lesson that they will never forget, he starts cutting them with an axe … all single handedly, totally devoid of the people’s reactions and perceptions towards him. Does he succeed in taking his wife’s death’s revenge from the mountains, does he have a change of heart, and does the government or anyone else help in his ‘uphill task’ endeavour is what forms the rest of the film.
Tagged Nawazuddin Siddiqui