Such a Long Journey (1998) Poster

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A great adaptation...
Boomwala28 September 1998
First I must admit to being biased... I worked on this film as the boom operator. But, that also makes me a tough critic. The film is outstanding. Having been part of the process of making this film I can say truthfully that it captured some of the transcendent qualities of India, the Parsis, and of Bombay (now Mumbai). It looks great. I think it sounds decent, but what is most remarkable about this film is the warm characters (written by Rohinton Mistry, adapted to the screen by Sooni Tapooravela [probably spelled that wrong], and brilliantly acted by the likes of Roshan Seth, Soni Razdan, Om Puri, and Kerush Deboo).
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7/10
A thought-provoking film, reinforcing the strength of family ties
It is wonderful to watch Roshan Seth (the strict father in 1992 "Mississippi Masala"), who once again takes on the role of a father and head of the family, and more, in SUCH A LONG JOURNEY, set in 1971 Bombay, India. Besides the closely knit family settings, subject matters include the lost and found of a friendship; the unexpected death of a friend (somehow the calm smiling face of a friend in death in the presence of prayers felt peaceful - so Gustad Noble, Roshan's character, similarly noted); a sidewalk artist's chain of events - "the wall as a latrine turned into a shrine…shrine into rumbles and ashes" was at once prophetic and philosophical. It's packed full of life lessons in different aspects of varying relationships: between father and son; mother and son; father and little daughter; little daughter and father and mother; longtime colleagues; long lost dear friends; even that of a man to man, one whose an innocent slow-witted "fool".

In spite of the tone of the film's era, it's a colorful film rich in substance, and the strength of the story in textural layers with humor and suspense. For a director who is not Indian (Sturla Gunnarsson being Icelandic), he's made a political Indian/Pakistani film. He gets into the bone marrow of the life of this Parsi portrayed by Roshan Seth, whose performance has such nuances, subtlety, and joy. (There is singing, too.) The rest of the cast is equally strong: from Om Puri the mysterious friend of a friend; Soni Razdan the enduring wife; Vrajesh Hirjee the argumentative eldest son; Sam Dastor the longtime office mate; Ranjit Chowdhry the pavement artist; to a superstitious "witch" woman of a neighbor; an unbeguiling "fool" of a man; and a long lost bosom friend - it's a world of many faces and perspectives. Director Gunnarsson has demonstrated sensitivity in the treatment of that time period and subject was well researched with attention to details. He has the good fortune to have Sooni Taraporevala (1992 "Mississippi Masala", 1988 "Salaam Bombay!") wrote the script. This is truly a worthwhile journey of a film to partake.

Along the lines of cultural exploration (road movie style), Fridrik Thor Fridriksson 1994 "Cold Fever" is an Icelandic sojourn about a Japanese young man who went across the globe in search of the specific spot to pay his last respects to his parents, dutifully following memorial rituals for the dead. Such demonstrated reverence and cross-cultural attention to family ties are heart-warming in this day and cyber age.
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8/10
well done
ashvinkurian28 April 2001
A great film. The acting - from the doctor to the pavement artist to the head prostitute, with very few exceptions, was wonderful; i thought soni razdan(mrs.noble) and vrajesh hirjee(saurabh) were the best of the lesser known actors. Even Kurush Deboo (Tehmul), who might be accused of overacting, presented quite a believable and familiar character.

Another great thing was the camera work - and the way it captured the energy of bombay streets, the tranquility of gustad saying his prayers and life within the tiny apartments.

I liked the story of the wall that becomes a shrine and then gets broken down - and the artists philosophical take on it.

It's great to see good movies on indian themes.
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Uplifting Slice of Mumbai
Rex Michael Dillon27 June 2000
This film was well scripted, well acted, and beautiful. It captures so much of what life is like for millions around the world not just in Bombay. We all have to deal with the human condidtion. We all have a parent-child relationship. We all have concerns about the quality of life in our immediate community, and are all ultimately affected by events on the international stage. I especially liked the philosphy of the street artist.

We have seen some of these actors before in bit parts in more mainstream films, but they all did such a fine job that I hope they continue to find parts in films worthy of their talents.
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10/10
Fascinating and excellent film
Enid-315 March 1999
It's really unfortunate that most people outside of Canada think that the only things that Canada produces are snow, mounties and hockey players. This film is the second superlative Canadian film I have seen within the past few weeks (the first was "The Red Violin"), far better than all but the best Hollywood efforts.

Gustad Noble is anything but that; he is a middle-aged Parsi bank employee in Bombay in the 1970s. This film sensitively explores various things that happen to him concerning his family, his friends and his work, and their effect on him. At the same time, it is a fascinating, and, I would assume, accurate, portrayal of middle-class, urban life in India at the time.

However, I was somewhat prepared for this, having read Rohinton Mistry's book a few years ago. The film, as might be expected, cannot capture all the complexities of the book, but, if you want to read a really good book, and see a really good film, read and see "Such a Long Journey".
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realistic, sensitive film
sswenson31 August 2000
A bank clerk in Bombay faces conflict within his family and on his job. Slice-of-life drama during the 1971 war with Pakistan. Elegant, extraordinary performances detail the lives of ordinary people. (Rating: A)
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Uplifting Slice of Mumbai
Rex Michael Dillon27 June 2000
This film was well scripted, well acted, and beautiful. It captures so much of what life is like for millions around the world not just in Bombay. We all have to deal with the human condition. We all have a parent-child relationship. We all have concerns about the quality of life in our immediate community, and are all ultimately affected by events on the international stage. I especially liked the philosophy of the street artist.

We have seen some of these actors before in bit parts in more mainstream films, but they all did such a fine job that I hope they continue to find parts in films worthy of their talents.
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10/10
A rich, wonderful novel of a movie
tom-21031 May 2000
I saw this film at the Taos Film Festival last year, and was just overwhelmed by it. It's a rich, warm novel brought to the screen, beautifully acted, and well directed. More than anything, it reminded me of the films of David Lean, both in its ability to handle a complex story, and its knack for creating powerful scenes that affect you on several different levels. The best movie I've seen in years.
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8/10
Impressive and touching
Samiam34 May 2009
For those of you who have read Rohinton Mistry's highly respected novel, this film will definitely impress you, because of how honorable an adaptation it is . With the exception of one minor subplot, Sturla Gunnarson's feature film debut is an almost dead-on recreation of the book (down to the last line).

For those of you who have not read the novel, this movie might be a little tricky. It is certainly not a large cinematic drama story. Instead it has a strong element of realism to it, but I would not have it any other way. The best way to describe Such a Long Journey to movie fans would be to say that it is a small scale, Hindu version of 'Fiddler On The Roof'. Instead of a Jewish/Russian milkman, the protagonist Gustad Noble is a banker in 1970's Bombay during the time of the Muslim/Hindi war with Pakistan. He is forced to deal with a number of unexpected problems in his life, including his sick daughter, his individualist eldest son, a distant friend who gets him involved with some dirty money, and an unhealthy neighborhood. The Ending is not a happy one, nor is it a sad one, but that is essentially what realism involves.

Such a Long Journey is a fine little movie, but if you want to see it, then good luck finding it. Unlike the novel, it has received very little release.
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10/10
A Journey of Conviction.
Python Hyena5 November 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Such a Long Journey (1998): Dir: Sturla Gunnarsson / Cast: Roshan Seth, Om Puri, Soni Razdan, Naseeruddin Shah, Kurush Deboo: Sturla Gunnarsson's film is a very long journey through the painstaking trial of one man. Opening in Bombay 1971 Roshan Seth stars as a husband and father of three children. He is angered when his oldest son refuses to follow in his college footsteps. Three years prior he was involved in a car accident causing injury to his hip, and when the person who assisted him is struck by a car he is overwhelmed with guilt and his inability. The wall that surrounds their apartment is subject to urination by locals so Seth employs an artist to brighten it up. Central plot regards Secret Service money that he obtains and must get rid of. Working at the Central Bank of India he soon deposits it with the assistance of a friend. To add to further issues he learns that his daughter is very ill, and time is greatly running out rapidly. Powerful film with unlimited potential in terms of ideas and themes. It is aided by strong performances by Seth, Om Puri and Soni Razdan who bring great insight and emotion into these characters propelled by the atmosphere for which they live. It is directed by Gunnarsson who goes above the film's budget to place more emphasis on locations and culture. It is a film about hardship and a long journey regarding one's flaws and sins. Score: 10 / 10
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10/10
An amazing adaptation of a very complex novel.
doug-879 March 1999
Rohinton Mistry's multi-layered novel seemed impossible to adapt for the screen but the resulting movie is filled with passion, emotion, humour and pathos. The story is somewhat slow-moving but there is always something on the screen to captivate the audience. The movie perfectly catches a particular time and place with pinpoint accuracy. All of the actors are Indian - few if any known to "western" audiences - but they are a joy to behold, especially the little girl who acts very convincingly. Don't be put off by the title and plot summary - this is a movie to be seen on the big screen. We have much to learn from it.
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5/10
Such A Long Movie
Spuzzlightyear13 August 2005
Such A Long Journey is a pretty interesting film that takes a VERY common theme, e.g. Look How the Indians Live! Adds an intriguing dash of espionage and winds up in a somewhat unfulfilling ride through an exotic landscape. Om Puri. Uh oh, is there 2 more deadly words in the actor's canon? Plays a desk executive at a bank whose boring home life is somewhat interrupted by a reintroduction of someone important to him in his earlier years. His friend takes advantage of this to get him to do some work for an anti-government group, mainly to slowly deposit money into their account. Puri is excited about this opportunity to add excitement into his life. His wife isn't so sure. All around this framework of a plot we have other characters that significantly affect Puri's home life as well, his friends at work, the local village idiot, his neighbors, his family, etc etc. I have no idea what my problem with Om Puri is, but I can never warm up to the guy, and that somewhat affected me enjoying this movie somewhat. But I did like his performance, along with many of the cast. Although the plot really drags at times and the ending is almost too hunky dory everything is fine now, there's a lot of richness in this film to match the awesome cinematography.
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10/10
My girlfriend's in this film and she's brilliant
mstibbe18 October 1999
Aileen Gonsalves, my girlfriend, is in this film playing a secretary at the main character's bank. She has a lovely scene with Roshan Seth in a restaurant. There's more information on her website at >Having stated my personal interest in the film, I have to say that I think it is a beautiful movie - moving, funny and beautifully filmed.
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A Good Lesson, But Not in History
MAY-1320 April 1999
I agree with my fellow viewers - Such A Long Journey is a film rich in detail and texture. But I felt lost when it came time to understand the underlying conflict which brought the two lost friends together. I am sure many viewers will not be fluent in Indian history, and the opening text sequences does not go far enough in setting the stage. I found myself trying to balance the beautifully shot footage with constantly trying to understand more about what was at stake.
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7/10
A good flick which tries to do too much.
George Parker5 August 2001
"Such a Long Journey" is a well crafted film, a good shoot, and a showcase for some good performances. However, the story is such a jumble of subplots and peculiar characters that it becomes a sort of Jack of all plots and master of none. Also, Western audiences will likely find the esoterics of the rather obscure Parsee culture a little much to get their arms around in 1.7 hours. Recommended for those with an interest in India.
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