Wednesday 2 September 2015

Manjhi: The Mountain Man - Shandar, Jabardast, Zindabad!

Manjhi: The Mountain Man - Shandar, Jabardast, Zindabad!

Vishal Bhadani

Department of Communication Skills, MEFGI, Rajkot

Starring Navazuddin Siddiqui, the film Manjhi-The Mountain Man is a biopic of Darshrath Manjhi who carved a mountain and made a way through it single handedly. If I use the protagonist’s favourite expression, I would say the film is Shandar, Jabardast, Zindabad! Ketan Mehta’s direction is what makes the film even more appealing.

Based on true story, the film is a modern epic of The Old Man and The Sea but heavily loaded with Indian optimism and love. Manjhi has set very high standards of hard work, dedication and persistence. As he lost his pregnant wife collapsing from the mountain, he could not take her to the hospital on time because of the same mountain blocking his way. He decides to make a road through the mountain to reduce the forty miles’ distance into one mile or so.

The very first scene is very powerful in terms of human potential, emotional engagement and the cinematographic frame. In this sence, Manjhi is challenging a huge mountain and threating him to tear apart his ego. It’s here that the ‘mountain’ catches fire; both literally and metaphorically.

Whenever anyone feels he/she has put in a lot hard work for doing something, that person is advised to watch the film more than once.

There is a journalist who keeps on visiting Dasharth Manjhi at his work. One day he shares his frustration on how his individual journey of becoming a true journalist ended up making him a political journalist. Manjhi advises, ‘Why don’t you start your own newspaper?’ The journalist said, ‘It’s not so easy to start one’s own newspaper. The Mountain Man asked, ‘Is it more difficult than carving a mountain?’ which silences and motivates the journalist. Later on he starts his own newspaper and when he comes to Manjhi to share the happiness, Manjhi expressed his joy by saying Shandar, Jabardast, Zindabad!

There is another inspiring incident in the film wherein he wants to meet Indira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister of India to tell her a malpractice done in the grant allocated for constructing the road. He takes up the train but soon he is thrown out of the train by the TC because he does not have the ticket to Delhi. He starts walking to Delhi which is not less than 1300 km. He reached Delhi but could meet the PM. I don’t know why all the men thrown out of train turn into rebels!!!

Issues of Bihar politics, caste and gender are beautifully incorporated making you glue to the screen. Bits and pieces of Siddiqui homour would smite you.

I think such people are worth a million books for inspiration. They personify the motto of ‘There is no option of individual intervention and hard work.’ The credibility this man has earned is outstanding. One man did what either the British or Indian government could/should have done but they did not, courtesy political will! The concept defies our long-cherished excuse, system should do it. Not that everyone should start digging up mountains but where this will, there is way!

A must watch! Shandar, Jabardast, Zindabad!    

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