Sunday, October 19, 2008


The title of Nishikant Kamat's Mumbai Meri Jaan comes from this amazing melodious song sung by Mohammed Rafi & Geeta Dutt:

Aye dil hai mushkil jeena yahan
Zara hat ke zara bach ke, yeh hai Bombay meri jaan

While the song is cheery and uplifting, the film deals with a topic that is anything but happy. Mumbai Meri Jaan shows how the lives of a few characters is affected by the Mumbai train bomb blasts of 2006. To Nishikant's & writer Yogesh Vinayak Joshi's credit, they have crafted a film with such grace and beauty that there is no room for melodrama and no speech about why the terrorists continue to kill innocent people. Instead, we are given ordinary every day characters and observe how a drastic event shakes things up for them. The film ends with a moment's silence for the victims and while we watch the characters observe the silence, the Rafi song comes on, and the screen fades to black as the words "yeh hai Bombay meri jaan.." echo in the background, a perfect way to end the film.

In a way, Mumbai Meri Jaan is a testament to the human spirit of Mumbai, one of the most vibrant cities in the world. Unfortunately, it is also a city that suffers a lot as it constantly has to bear the brunt of terrorists who continue to kill innocents for a cause that even they could not name. After each attack, the citizens are expected to return to their life and forget the violence. But if a citizen is angered, what can he/she do?

Neeraj Pandey's debut film A Wednesday answers that question by portraying a situation where an ordinary citizen, "a common man", decides to take matters in his own hands and get revenge for the constant violence that rocks his city. The film depicts how a mysterious man has the Mumbai police on the run to stop further possible bomb explosions in the city. I would hate to give anything away as I watched the film without knowing the story and enjoyed how things unfolded, although I did guess on where things were going.

Both Mumbai Meri Jaan and A Wednesday are a rare commodity in Bollywood in depicting the police as hard working and sincere human beings. That is a refreshing thing to see plus both films contain excellent performances from some of the best actors in the industry such as Paresh Rawal, Kay Kay Menon, Irfan Khan (Mumbai Meri Jaan) and Naseeruddin Shah, Anupam Kher (A Wednesday).

Ratings out of 10:
Mumbai Meri Jaan: 9
A Wedneday: 8.5

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