Mumbai Meri Jaan Hindi Movie Review

Feature Film
The hard-hitting experience and the performances make it a one time watch in theatre.
Aug 25, 2008 By Ashok Nayak

Mumbai Meri Jaan, I expected a lot from this movie for 2 reasons. Firstly as 'Black Friday' based on the 1993 blasts is one of my favorite movies ever. Mumbai Meri Jaan is based on the 11 / 7 series blasts in 2006 which rocked the local trains in Mumbai. Second reason being the very talented cast, any movie that brings together the brilliant Irrfan Khan, Kay Kay Menon, Paresh Rawal, Madhavan is worth a watch. Mumbai Meri Jaan is directed by Nishikant Kamat.

As most Indians know on July 11th 2006 Mumbai's lifeline, the local trains, were targeted by the terrorists. Seven bombs exploded in a matter of minutes, killing about 200 people and severely injuring more than 500. Mumbai Meri Jaan is about how some people handled the aftermath of the devastating serial blasts.

Nikhil Agarwal (R. Madhavan) works at an international software firm and is a conscious citizen. He believes in saving fossil fuels and the environment, and thus prefers to commute by the local train in the First Class compartment. On the evening of 11th July, 2006 he boards the train at the usual hour of 6:00 p.m. for his hour long journey. 24 minutes later, the First Class compartment is shattered by the first violent bomb explosion...

Suresh (Kay Kay Menon), a Hindu fanatic, returning home after an unsavoury experience with a money lender, boards a train at 6:10 p.m. in the second class compartment. At 6:25 p.m. the First Class Compartment is blown apart by the second powerful blast.

Constable Tukaram Patil (Paresh Rawal), a seasoned cop due for retirement in a week, has never fired a single round in his career and uses humour to battle his personal failures. He is paired with Sunil Kadam (Vijay Maurya) on a patrol routine. Kadam has just begun his career with the police department and has a constant feeling of being an insignificant part of the system. The blasts lead to the cancellation of Kadam's honeymoon plans and puts added stress on the two. However, the corruption of the system and the mere façade of a stringent vigil are brought to the fore through several of their experiences which lead to Kadam's rising anger and frustration.

Thomas (Irrfan), a roadside coffee vendor, who roams the streets of Mumbai astride his bicycle at night, is happy with the meager money he struggles to earn every week but is hurt by the exclusionary bourgeois attitude of the city. Although the bomb blasts leave him personally unaffected, he realizes that the incident has brought distress to others who are higher up in the class structure. Armed with this knowledge his simple mind finds a way to strike back at the society which refuses to let him belong.

Rupali Joshi (Soha Ali Khan), a reporter working for one of the leading news channels in Mumbai is a strong proponent of freedom of expression and the importance of the fourth estate. The 7/11 explosions bring home a shocking subjective quandary and test her passion for objectivity.

Mumbai Meri Jaan is one of those hard-hitting movies with real characters. The director to a certain extent succeeds in executing the well-written story (Yogesh Vinayak Joshi and Upendra Sidhaye). It's no easy task to handle 6 different stories in a movie. The characters are perfectly etched, real, easy to identify with and you actually feel their agony. I couldn't help but feel what if I was one of those passengers in the train. Indeed a scary thought. There are a few genuinely heart wrenching moments too as the movie succeeds in striking an emotional chord with the viewer. The problem though, very much like Black Friday, is the pace. It's painfully slow. This could well go against the movie at the box-office.

The special effects used for the blasts are brilliant. While the background music adds to the overall feel.

The performances are fantastic as expected! Kay Kay Menon portraying the role of a Hindu extremist is superb. Paresh Rawal who infact lost a lot of weight for the role is very effective. Irrfan Khan stands out yet again, great actor. The director has managed to extract a good performance out of Soha Ali Khan, in a de-glam role. R Madhavan expressions alone do the trick. Vijay Maurya is perfect for his role.

Overall, the pace at which Mumbai Meri Jaan moves requires a lot of patience from a viewer. But the hard-hitting experience and the performances make it a one time watch in theatre.

Ashok Nayak