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Maine Gandhi Ko Nahin Mara February 20, 2007

Posted by Shujath in Hindi, Movies, Reviews.
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There have been films in the past in which the lead actor is suffering from an ailment/disability. Maine Gandhi Ko Nahin Mara at the outset looks like another one of those but it cleverly manages to end up being a rather heartfelt and convincing thriller.

Anupam Kher plays a retired professor suffering from Alzheimer’s. His doting daughter (Urmila Matondkar) is always there to look after him. However, his condition seems to be deteriorating day by day but it still is restricted to short term memory blackouts about things which happened in the past. Until then it was mostly harmless (though embrarrassing at times) but the trouble starts when he begins to start collecting newspaper clips about acts of crime. A couple of days later he has a fit of anger when someone places a cup of coffee on a newspaper featuring a photo of Mahatma Gandhi. And one fine day, he locks himself up in his room and imagines that he had assassinated Gandhi “by mistake” and pleads from being persecuted. The rest of the movie is about how Urmila along with others try to rid Kher of his delusions which seems to be destroying his life as well as everyone else’s connected to him.

In the midst of all this there are also troubles within the family as Urmila’s boyfriend leaves her because of Kher’s behaviour in front of her prospective in-laws. Also, there is the conflict between Urmila and her brother on whether to transfer Kher to a mental institution or not.This film’s main strength is its unusual plot which is beautifully built up to the point where Kher starts believing that he had killed Gandhi. What follows after that is quite interesting too. The only drawback probably is the climax (Kher’s final speech in the courtroom looks very forced into the screenplay). 

Urmila Matondkar and Anupam Kher are brilliant together and account for most of the screen space. The strong supporting cast of debutant Addy, Rajit Kapoor and Parvin Dabas add greatly to the proceedings. Bappi Lahiri’s background score is another asset. This is yet another fine example of how an engaging screenplay can do wonders for a film and director Jahnu Barua should be commended for that. This is a really nice movie which is highly interesting despite what the sombre look might seem to say…go watch it.

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