Ashdoc's movie review---Shorgul

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Ashdoc's movie review---Shorgul

Post by ashdoc on Sun Jul 03, 2016 11:44 am

Once again I am attracted to my favourite cinematic destination---the mofussil towns of Indian states of Uttar pradesh ( UP ) and Bihar . And my favourite cinematic recipe---those towns burning with the conflagration of communal conflict . 

This film is supposed to be based on the Muzaffarpur hindu muslim riots of 2013 , but deviates from showing the rumoured real cause of the riots . Instead it shows the riots to be caused by a one sided love story . The town also has been renamed in the movie---to Malihabad . The name of the chief minister of UP has been changed too , though only barely---to Mithilesh . 

Even before the unrequited love story comes to a gory end , Malihabad sits on a communal tinderbox . Jimmy Shergill plays the stylish leader of the hindu right wing party that is hell bent on making it's mark in the town , and he and his acolytes duly appear at every occasion that hints at communal antagonism . The most vile of his acolytes is a lame man ; lame men are typical villains in Indian stories starting from Shakuni in the ancient epic Mahabharat....

The antidote to the communal politics of Shergill is played by Ashutosh Rana , a calming sage like figure who has no distinction between caste or religion in his mind---this even though he is of a religious bent , thus harking to Mohandas Gandhi . And just like Gandhi , he is shown to lose his life in the midst of communal conflict . Rana has a goodlooking son ( Aniruddh Dave ) who has a friendship with the beautiful Suha Gezen , who comes from a muslim family that has close relations with Rana's family . And not surprisingly , Aniruddh is in secret love with Suha who does not know of that . But alas !! Suha belongs to someone else---a liberal muslim ( played by Hiten Tejwani ) who does not mind the friendship between Suha and Aniruddh and steers clear of orthodoxy by refusing to keep outward marks of the muslim religion like beard . 

Enter the troublemaker---a muslim refugee from the communal riots that have occurred in another state ( Gujarat ) who has a huge scarred piece of skin on his neck as a mark of those riots . He makes clear his hatred and resentment for hindus from his entry onwards . He also is in contact with a muslim fundamentalist leader who is ever ready to stir up trouble in the town and has the stockpile of weapons for that . This refugee makes Suha's fiance come to know of Aniruddh's secret love for Suha , this stirring up the fiance's jealousy . And leads him on to a violent confrontation with Aniruddh , which leads to murder....

Predictably , the entire town goes up in flames as all the communal actors who have been introduced play their predictable parts . The situation goes totally out of control of a sane leader like Rana , and Suha is forced to become a refugee in her own land . But the film that was going on very interestingly till now , begins to drag at this point....

Of course , the scenes of violence have been well pictured . Photography of mobs going out of control seem all too real . Houses , vehicles and humans are set on fire . The destruction of the town seems to be total . Victims running for cover from savage mobs chasing them seem really scared . Rabid politicos like the muslim home minster give inflammatory speeches designed to be rabble rousing for the islamic crowds . This is matched by Shergill who rouses the hindu pride and anger among his followers . Both leaders hark to the same theme---of people of their respective religions having been too understanding to the aggressive behaviour of the other . And now the time having come to act---for the brave are the ones who inherit the land , or so the leaders say . 

Problem is , there seems to be no coherent end to the violence and bloodletting . It just drags on purposelessly . Nothing good comes out of the mayhem , and the entertainment factor becomes less . The director has tried to make the point that leaders who live by extreme violence also die violent deaths . But not before their propensity for violence has shattered entire regions and spilled innocent blood . However , the mindlessness of the whole violence in the second half makes the audience lose interest and attention . On the other hand , the first half is better and more coherent . 

All actors play their roles all too well . Jimmy Shergill looks confidently stylish and urbane taking massages from semi clad young women and drinking scotch . Ashutosh Rana looks as if he has inherited royal blood and acts in an extremely sophisticated manner . Suha looks so fair and delicate and soft and lovely . Songs and music is good too , all filled with melodious tunes . Worth hearing more than once later . 

But the whole film cannot be called a special effort . The director has no solutions to the endless Hindu muslim feud . In fact , he feels that fundamentalists of both religions will grab power by flaming sectarianism and will work to mutual benefit . The feud will go on....

Verdict---Okay . 

Two and a half stars .

ashdoc

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