Bollywood and culture in an emerging India
Mumbai Meri Jaan: A disjointed effort
Where were you on July 11? It’s a question Mumbaikars often ask one another. When seven blasts ripped through the city’s local trains in 2006, it changed its fabric forever, regardless of what anyone might tell you about Mumbai’s famous spirit.
So when a film comes along that seeks to document this tragedy and the reactions to it, curiosity is naturally aroused.
“Mumbai Meri Jaan” is directed by Nishikant Kamat and stars Soha Ali Khan, Kay Kay Menon, R Madhavan, Irrfan Khan and Paresh Rawal.
The film essentially narrates the stories of five characters, all affected by the events of 7/11.
Soha plays Rupali Joshi, a high-flying television reporter, who gets a taste of her own medicine when her fiancé is killed in the blasts and her employer uses her as a “story”. Kamat uses Soha’s track to make a powerful point about the callousness of the media.
Madhavan plays a professional who questions his ideals after narrowly escaping the blasts. And Kay Kay and Irrfan embody one of the many biases that we have, whether it is against a particular religion, caste or economic strata.
The performance that takes the cake is Paresh Rawal’s realistic portrayal of Patil, a Mumbai police constable on the verge of retirement.
While all the tracks are interesting in themselves, Kamat fails to bind them together or hold viewer interest as he shifts from one track to the other.
I felt I was watching five different films. I am sure he had a message he wanted to convey, am just not sure he himself was clear what that message was.
When a film chronicles such an important real life event, it is important you don’t lose focus in the script.
Kamat tries to deal with too many issues in one film and ends up not doing justice to any of them. It’s a disjointed effort and one that doesn’t do justice to the event it set out to chronicle.