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Mere Pyare Prime Minister Movie Review: It Is All Heart!

Subhash K . Jha

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Mere Pyare Prime Minister

Mere Pyare Prime Minister

Starring  Anjali Patil,  Om Kanojia, Nitish  Wadhwa

Directed  by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra

Rating: ****(4 stars)

It is of some significance  that the song to which the  mother and son in this enchanting heartwarmer dance in the splendor of their chawl existence , is an Aamir Khan  number.

Aamir was after all the  star of Mehra’s  Rang De BasantiMere Pyare Prem Minister has an  even bigger star. Little Om  Kanojia is  a treasured find, a joy to  behold.When son Kannu  is sulking, Mom Sargam  puts on  Aati kya khandala  from Aamir’s Ghulam on  the  phone and mom Anjali Patil dances  leaving every care behind

 Rakeysh Om Prakash Mehra’s  study of slumming  salvation is  steeped in sincerity and warmth .I felt I was watching  a  braver  more  rounded  ripped  and  gentle version Mira Nair’s Salaam Bombay. This is  the  film Mira could have made while Danny Boyle was location-hunting in Dharavi  for  Slumdog Millionaire.

Rakeysh Mehra’s script which he co-wrote with  Manoj Mairta and Hussain Dalaal.  looks at  little Kannu and his friends’  wretchedly deprived existence with almost no  pity and  tremendous empathy. The  film is  shot like  a dream by  cinematographer  Pawel Dyllus. The contrasts between the  slums and  the  skyscrapers  which define Mumbai city here  qualify a sense of aching  nostalgia  for  a time when inequality was  not so  steep,and hence not so  dangerous and threatening. 

 In  a  sequence such as  the one where Kanhu and his friends  sit staring at the  skyscrapers  on the  other  end  wondering how many  toilets there must be in  every building, while there are  none in the  entire chawl,   Mehra nimbly   circumvents  the sinister  insinuations  of social  inequality.

 Not that the  film paints too rosy  a picture of  slum squalor.  What  Mehra’s  narrative  has done  is to transcend  the  wretchedness in pursuit of  that  glimmer  of hope which defines  life  at the  bottom-most level  of  the  social hierarchy where the super-rich  are neither myth nor meme. The  tender  yet strong narrative is supported by  some solid  music and unsentimental peeps into the  innermost recesses  of the  human heart.

 Kanhu’s  determined struggle  to  travel to  Delhi from Mumbai to meet the Prime Minister is mapped  with such tender care and  benign humour , I  thought Mr Modi himself  would  appear as  topping on the crusty cake filled  with oodles  of ache. It would be unfair to reveal how Kannu’s  attempts  to meet the PM  end.  It would  also be unfair to reveal  how the tender love story between Kannu’s freespirited  mother and  a kindly poetic dreamy-eyed bookstall owner(Nitish  Wadhwa) ends. For  the end  is not a  goal that the people  of this film look at.Every day is treated like a survival adventure.

This  is world where heroism is  not about jumping  down  those skyscrapers  that  Kannu  stares at without an iota of envy . It’s about a little son of  meager means  and  his resolve  to  build  a toilet  in the slums  for his  mother so that she never needs to fear predatory assaults  in  the  middle of the  night.

Chayan se  hugne bhi nahin dete,” a  woman sobs in anguish. Well,  hug as much you like. A  big hug to all the wonderful   child  actors in  this film who make the  art of  on-camera expression look so  effortless .They can give some of our biggest  superstars lessons  on how to convey  hometruths without overstatement. As  for Anjali Patil as  Kannu’s mother , does she  ever disappoint?  Just watching her dance during  a  Holi sequence   in  blissful  abandon  to the sound  of Navrang’s Ja re hat natkhat  was  a  paisa-vasool experience  for me.

I couldn’t ask for more.

This is a film with many rewards for the  viewers , the biggest of them being the growing realization that the have-nots  are not  going to  go away   as much as some of  us would like them  to.  Garibi hatao  is all very well. But what  about the  Garib?  Rakeysh Mehra  looks beyond both.And he sees hope.And he wants us to see  it too.

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