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Director Aneesh Daniel and writer Andrew E Matthews present Mr. Staines' story (based on true events), and even shot on location in India despite a limited budget. Sharman Joshi plays ambitious young journalist Manav Banerjee, who in the late 1990's packs up his pregnant wife Shanti (Aditi Chengappa) and heads to the remote Indian town of Orissa in hopes of securing a writing job for the local newspaper. Once there, he finds no guarantees - only an editor who assigns him the nearly impossible task of procuring evidence that a local missionary is illegally converting Hindus to Christianity.
The missionary is Australian Graham Staines who, along with his wife (Shari Rigby) and 3 kids, run a camp for locals afflicted with leprosy. Staines is played by Stephen Baldwin, the youngest of the Baldwin brothers, and best known for his turn in THE USUAL SUSPECTS (1995). Baldwin and his whispered Aussie accent plays Staines as a near-Saint; one who could only be doubted by the most ferocious traditionalists (of which there are many).
Mr. Joshi plays Banerjee as a bit of creepy-stalking guy who spends a little too much time staring at others. He's conflicted with fulfilling his assignment and discovering the truth about Staines. Banerjee's own moment of self-preservation likely inspired the horrific event by a mob of Hindu fundamentalists that, combined with some insider information, set Banerjee straight with how to proceed and what to report. In the process, he exposes the corruption and self-interest of rural India driven by the many minds closed by religious traditions.
Director Daniel opens the film with actual footage and archival clips of unrest and turmoil from those times. As you would expect, these clips are more disturbing and provide more intense reaction than anything the movie could produce (except for maybe the horrific event noted above). The overblown and overly-dramatic music doesn't help the presentation, yet somehow the message of kindness and forgiven is not lost.
Interesting angle on foreign missions abroad and not over-preachy. Stephen Baldwin was good even though his Australian accent is not that great.
This movie gives us a beautiful glimpse of how love reigns through service, courage, and forgiveness.
Great work by all the crew. Sharman Joshi did his role to the perfection!
Loved the final suspense too and that made me thought "If you try to fight against truth you are hurting yourself."
An inspiring and heart touching movie. Let Love Reign!!
Stephen Baldwin did a fine job as the title character and Shari Rigby gracefully portrayed his wife Gladys. Sharman Joshi succeeds in making you first pull for him, then despise him while also pitying him to some extent. The movie is family friendly but the Staines boys' and their father's murder may be too sensitive of a topic for smaller kids (under 13).
Teaches people not to be biased, not to misinterpret and not to judge. Great acts of love, kindness and forgiveness which is lacking in the present world. There is so much to learn and live better lives.
This is a content heavy movie. If you are prepared to be shaken to your core with the power of the message, if you are willing to come face to face with truth, you must watch this film. Otherwise there are some a dozen other movies for the faint hearted. - (Vinod Paul, ex advertising & mass communication professional currently involved in community service)