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Dharavi, the big slum with which everyone is acquainted with because of
the umpteen times its depicted in movies. If not sure, Slumdog
millionaire, all RGV gangsta flicks, Deewar....u will get the idea.
Dharavi, a land of promises and despair, A land of treachery and miseries and what not. A satire on the canvas of the maximum city- MUMBAI.(A satire because dharavi was the fisherman's swamp land some 200 hundred years ago before it acted as a base for establishment of mumbai which now ignores it.) Anyways it creates a perfect backdrop for storytellers to express ordeals and hardships of the common man. A common man, so extensively portrayed in our films from time to time that he has become a kind of cliché'. We all have certain expectations from him. He must be honest, should be in loose plain shirts, dropped shoulders, find happiness in his wife and children and u know what i mean. He may sometimes have big expectations but in no way are they bigger than his ethics and his family. Our hero Rajkaran is a common man, earning from hard work and still in debt. He also has big dreams,to rise higher in life. But, he is uncommonly common. He has a family,but he is not happy with their burden. He has ethics, but only as far as they don't come in his way. He drinks a lot. Can easily put a blind eye whenever sees any trouble.Heck, he fantasizes about Madhuri Dixit! He is in every sense in the modern world-just a human. He takes all the right steps needed. In his eyes, he has done nothing wrong. But the world is determined to take him down. His wife, Kumud is also common in every sense. Content, hardworking and loving. Or it seems so. Maybe she is tired of fighting with the destiny and accepted her status in society. What destiny plans for them is for you to watch. Om puri and shabana azmi, two of the stalwarts show us yet again what playing a character honestly is. Om puri plays a flawed and thus a very human character. His character Rajkaran, shows how a dream can possess a man.His ambition of going up the social ladder forms the base of story. And his wife Kumud, a woman with huge responsibilities of chores upon her shoulders, is one who has to bear all her husband's fault without questioning. Played brilliantly by Shabana Azmi, the character shows how a woman sacrifices for a man and yet has to rely solely on him. In other characters. Raghuveer Yadav and Virendra Saxena play their part with ease and finesse. Sudhir Mishra handles the subject of poverty,greed, injustice and crime without being biased and keeping every character flawed in some sense thus adding to the perception of story.
In 'Dharavi', Sudhir Mishra gives us a glimpse of the slum culture
infested by poverty, crime, corruption, despair and depravity.
Taxidriver Rajkaran (Om Puri), an inhabitant of the Dharavi slum,
dreams of making it big as he's fed up of life in the slums. His
frustration takes a toll on his marriage. His wife Kumud (Shabana Azmi)
works at a garments factory and takes care of their son. She's
satisfied enough with her life and this only further exacerbates things
for Rajkaran. Rajkaran's happiest moments are when he's hammered. He
bounces into a dream world where he is paid a visit by a siren (Madhuri
Dixit) whom he identifies as his true love. Frustration leads to
despair which calls for desperate measures.
Mishra's depiction of the slum culture is well done. He displays a good understanding of it and pays attention to detail which is apparent in the language, the sets, costumes and social interactions. I also liked his use of symbolism and metaphors. The background score is beautiful. However, the cinematography is flat and the sound effects are weak.
Om Puri delivers yet another phenomenal performance. He captures Rajkaran's frustration, vulnerability, persistence, anger and despair with élan. Shabana Azmi plays her part with equal conviction. Veerendra Saxena does well as Kumud's brother whose ideals conflict with Rajkaran's interest.
Overall, 'Dharavi' is easily one of Mishra's best movies, perhaps his best after 'Hazaaron Khwahishein Aisi'.
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