Hello Jai Hind (Marathi) - Review

wogma rating: Add to 'must watch' list (?) - Basically, the keen must watch it!
quick review:

Hello Jai Hind, Gajendra Ahire’s latest film, is a dramatic, hard-hitting tale of an honest constable and his fight against the feeble politico-judicial system. While far from perfect, the film engages you because of its un-glorified, realistic treatment. In spite of the flaws in its writing and male lead Nitin Desai’s weak performance, the film is highly watchable because of Ahire’s mature handling of the story. Lead actress Trupti Bhoir’s performance, Nitin Desai’s art direction and Illaiyaraaja’s music enhance it further, making it a worthy addition to the films that have begun emerging from the fast-evolving Marathi film industry.

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Wogma Review

Sadrakshanay Khalnigrahanay. Roughly translated as ‘Protecting good, destroying evil’. Cynics though we may be, perhaps we could grant that the motto of the Maharashtra Police is simple but elegant. (So what if their official website translates it as “Protecting The Rightous [sic] And Controlling & Annihilating The Evil” (sic)?) Today, on the eve of the third anniversary of 26/11, comes a tribute to the brave yet controversial men who often lay their lives on the line, for you and me.

Noted Marathi filmmaker Gajendra Ahire’s latest offering, Hello Jai Hind, is a take on the travails and angst of an honest policeman. No, not an ‘ACP’ or an ‘Inspector’, but a constable. That man on the lowest rung of the hierarchical ladder of the police force. In cinema, he is generally ignored, often parodied and stereotyped, but never truly done justice to. Not that this film pretends to be a realistic documentary, far from it. Where it succeeds is that it takes a dramatic story and treats it in a manner more honest than most of what we cinephiles have been subjected to lately.

Yes, there are flaws. Yes, the film is prone to over-the-top theatrics in moments where subtlety would perhaps have worked better. Yes, the screenplay could and should have been tighter, with a more impactful climax. But in times where the audience’s idea of a good cop film is Singham, Hello Jai Hind is a refreshing film.

Celebrated art director Nitin Chandrakant Desai makes his acting debut as Shivaji Pawar, an honest man who chose to be a policeman, because that is all he ever wanted to be. While it is quite clear that Desai is not an actor and that he clearly lacks the ability to pull off such a complex role, one can also quite clearly see why he was chosen to play the protagonist - he looks the part. He looks like he could be a constable in the Mumbai police. The gait, the posture, the hair, the physique, everything about him says ‘Constable Pawar’.

Performance-wise it is actress (and producer) Trupti Bhoir, as Shivaji Pawar’s wife, who steals the show. She is competent, she also looks the part, and she has a presence that always makes you interested in what her character’s next move will be. The story is as much hers as it is his. It is tough being a Mumbai policeman’s wife, especially a constable’s, because the dangers are high and the returns are low. Trupti manages to make us feel that turmoil.

They say, ‘God is in the details’. That is Gajendra Ahire’s big victory in this film. The wife tells her husband, in passing, that instead of a new sari, she would rather save up for a fridge. A few scenes later, when months have passed in their lives, in a long two-shot, unobtrusively parked along a wall stands a small fridge. No attention is drawn to it whatsoever – a sign of a mature filmmaking.

What Nitin Desai lacks in the acting department, he makes up for in what he is best at – the art direction. The entire film is set in Mumbai, and the film captures that. The houses, the streets, the rain, everything seems real. Not once do you get the feeling that any location is constructed, even though most of the film is shot on sets. (The only way I got to know that is because I stayed through the end credits, which lists only three locations - N. D. Studio, Film City and Gateway of India.) Also, the sound design and foley work are commendable - they gently ensure that the sounds capture the flavor of Mumbai.

A special mention must go to maestro Illaiyaraaja, who has given the music for the film. Few men can come up with melodies that go with the moment or the occasion like the great man, and his music is an asset to this film. Be it the ‘Ganpati Ala’ track or the songs sung by Sukhwinder, Kailash Kher and Hariharan respectively, the music is from the soul - not the kind that would find its way into iPods across the nation, but the kind which one would not fast-forward while watching on DVD. One only wishes that Illaiyaraaja does more films, even if they are regional or offbeat.

The film’s other major flaw (apart from Desai’s weak performance) is the screenplay. It tends to sag, especially in the latter half of the film. Most importantly, the pre-climax and the climax don’t do justice to the buildup. A stronger third act would have truly done wonders to this film. Still, the treatment, the backdrop of real events and its crisp under-two-hour-runtime make the film engaging for the most part. Ultimately, why this film worked for me is that even though it is far from perfect, Hello Jai Hind is honest and it emphatically shows us that Singham is NOT Kingam.

This review is by guest reviewer Pradeep Menon. Pradeep is a filmmaker and a dreamer. He loves books, rain, winters, tea and his parents. Cinema, however, is the only truth he believes in. He breathes and bleeds film, mostly in hues of saffron, white, green and blue. You can watch his short films at www.youtube.com/cyberpradeep.

Parental Guidance:

Advisable, if only to shed more light on the nuances of an honest man’s struggles in life

  • Violence: Action sequences involving terrorists, some blood and body count.
  • Language: The story of a Mumbai cop, hence language and words that go with the territory
  • Nudity & Sexual content: No nudity, slight hint of what would happen on the wedding night
  • Concept: A dramatic story about an honest constable’s fight against the system, set in contemporary Mumbai
  • General Look and Feel: Gritty and real

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

  • Direction: 3
  • Story: 3
  • Lead Actors: 3
  • Character Artists: 3
  • Dialogues: 3
  • Screenplay: 2
  • Music Director: 3
  • Lyrics: 3

Hello Jai Hind - Movie Details

Hello Jai Hind - Trailer

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