13 year old Riyaz lives a poor lifestyle in Bombay, India, with his grandmother, Fayyuzi, and her sister, Mehmooda alias Mammo. Quite outspoken and embittered over his dad abandoning him, ... See full summary »
13 year old Riyaz lives a poor lifestyle in Bombay, India, with his grandmother, Fayyuzi, and her sister, Mehmooda alias Mammo. Quite outspoken and embittered over his dad abandoning him, Riyaz does not have many friends, save for Rohan. When Mammo plans a surprise birthday party for him, Riyaz is offended as he believes his friends will make fun of him as his lifestyle is not as good as their's. Fayyuzi and Riyaz have an argument with Mammo, and she leaves for the Mosque at Haji Ali, but returns when both apologize to her. Although Mammo was born in Panipat during the British Raj, she was one of thousands of Muslims who left for Pakistan. She was married over there, could not conceive, was branded a "barren woman", and asked to leave. Having nowhere else to go, she came to live with her widowed sister in Bombay on a temporary Visa. Every month she would walk to the nearest Police Station and get an extension. She finally paid a Rs.4800/ as a bribe in order to get a permanent visa ... Written by
Within few minutes after Farida Jalal enters into the screen, memories of 'Sound of Music' surfaced in my mind. The character of Farida Jalal in the movie is one of a kind that people look forward to as their ideals. They are free spirited and invoke a sense of hope every time they come on screen. With them I can really think that nothing wrong will go in the story. Characters of these sorts are likely to exhibit powers of a silent hero who control the emotions in the film. The character of Julie Andrews in the sound of music had struck the same feeling in me like this one. I will also go on saying that having these characters I feel assured of a happy ending. It is an entirely a different feeling when you never fear even when something is going bad in the story. These characters are so Angel types that it is highly likely that we try and imitate the same. With Mammo, Farida Jalal has given me that feeling. Shyam Benegal is truly one of the best filmmakers India has. The movie went on to winning the National Film award for Best Feature in Hindi.
The story of the film is based on the maternal grandmother's sister (Mammo) who just comes into the house of the protagonist uninvited. At first you tend to feel against the character, but that is what is intended because it is needed to show how naturally her character blends into the family. How the initial reluctance turns into love and belief is blended with a powerhouse performance from Farida Jalal. Another opportunity that the director had in the film was to exploit the absence of a male in a family. There is always a visible and emotional absence of a male in their family. There is the life of a middle class family which tries to avoid a lot of problems just by any means. They struggle for simple things. They take small issues big. They manage and compromise a lot of times. Mammo is a character who smokes with a 13 year old grandson and does not make it an issue when he watches porn. She is hugely broadminded. The character of Riyaz is stubborn and irritating. Gradually his nature also changes, partly because of the influence of Mammo and some other when certain instances get raised during the course of the movie. Another beautiful character was of Surekha Sikri as Fayyazi, the grandmother of Riyaz. She brings up an oversensitive and fearful lady on the screen. She is older than her sister but then also she always has this unintentional habit of looking up to Mammo for certain big decisions. Her winning of National film award for Best Supporting Actress is well justified.
The chemistry that these three share on the screen is something that is rarely brought up on Indian Cinema. Though the film suffers from a little loop holes in plot and characters (sometimes), it is one of those films which make you forget about aesthetics and technicalities of filmmaking and just indulge with its lovable characters. Looking forward for more films like this.
MESSAGE: 'Life is Beautiful'
VERDICT: 'A recommended watch.'
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