2 out of 5 (Okay)
Saare Jahaan Se Mehnga falters terribly in its basic premise. Watch it only for honest performances and commendable setting.
Mansha Rastogi Fri, 08 Mar 2013
There's an opportunity in every lost cause and who better than our filmmakers to testify that? While the aam junta is ruefully acquiescing to the new budget passed recently by the government, makers of the critically acclaimed Phas Gaye Re Obama strategically release their film Saare Jahan Se Mehnga, a satirical film on the price hike in India right in the midst of it all. Would it draw crowd? Let's find out.
Puttan Pal (Sanjay Mishra) a middle-class person works in Pashu Prajanan Kendra (Animal Breeding Center) and earns a measly sum. His wife Noori (Pragati) runs a beauty salon that barely makes her ends meet. Together they support two other members, the father Nagpal (Vishwa Mohan Badola) and younger brother Gopal (Ranjan Chhabra). However, with the growing hike in prices it becomes increasingly difficult to manage their expenses. Just then, Puttan Pal devices a plan to save himself from the ever increasing inflation for three years by making his good for nothing younger brother apply for a loan of Rs. 1Lakh under a Government scheme for 'unemployed youth who have passed Class X' with the excuse that Gopal wants to set up a shop. With the money approved by the Government he then stocks up three years ration to save himself the worry of the rising prices. However, his well thought through plan develops a loophole as the loan inspector (Zakir Hussain) comes knocking down their doors to check on the shop they were to build! What happens next follows through the rest of the plot!
Time and again there have been satires on the government policies and the atrocities on the 'mango people' courtesy the taxes or hikes levied forcibly on them. However, not everyone can be a Shyam Benegal to direct satires that make for an enjoyable watch while passing a message.
Debutant filmmaker Anshul Sharma takes up the burning issue of inflation and attempts to deal with it in a comic manner however, falters at the mere base of it! The thought of stacking up ration for three years comes across as utterly ludicrous as even a layman could pick out the flaw that it's highly improbable.
Although just around 100mins in run time, the film appears long and tedious courtesy the stretched screenplay of the second half. The first half where the filmmaker establishes the characters and backdrop however, is very breezy and engaging. The tiring run time gets fueled by the drearily long monologue of Sanjay Mishra towards the penultimate moment which is so melodramatic that you are left annoyed. To add to the agony is the unconvincing climax where the filmmaker almost promotes fraudulent loans to fight against the inflation.
Of the few good points that make you stick around right till the end is the performance of each and every actor. Anshul Sharma shows his prowess in direction as he successfully extracts commendable performances by his cast. The leader of the pack Sanjay Mishra easily slips into the shoes of a middle-class harried man and also performs effortlessly. Definitely one of the mainstays of the film. His onscreen wife played by Pragati is also a delight in her bit role. Zakir Hussain is at his regular best. Newcomer Ranjan Chhabra needs to chop his hair and go back to acting school if he intends taking his profession seriously.
Anshul Sharma also impresses with his backdrop setting. Cinematographer Fasahat Khan shoots the locations of Wai and Panchgani, which get used very regularly in the films, quite innovatively.
To sum it up, Saare Jahaan Se Mehnga falters terribly in its basic premise. Watch it only for honest performances and commendable setting.
Critic: Mansha Rastogi
2 out of 5 (Okay)