14 Oct 2016
Anna: Kisan Baburao Hazare | Movie Review | It’s all about Anna
Shashank Udapurkar as Kisan Baburao Hazare
Tanishaa Mukerji as Shikha
Govind Namdeo as Sahukar
Rajit Kapoor as Rajat Sharma
Sharat Saxena as Major Bharat Sinha
Daya Shankar Pandey as Ramya
Atul Srivastava as Dixit
Anant Jog as Prakash Mane
Arif Zakaria as Master
Kishore Kadam as Appa
Director: Shashank Udapurkar
Writer: Shashank Udapurkar
Producer: Manindra Jain
Editor: Sanjay Sankla
Like: Simple story narration of a humble man essayed by a convincing actor
Dislike: Hagiographical account of a socio-political peregrination eliminating many controversies
Synopsis: Back in 2011, a centenarian launched a crusade against corruption and stirred a mass movement supporting the Jan Lokpal Bill. Kisan Baburao “Anna” Hazare born on 15th June, 1937 is an Indian social activist well- acknowledged for leading several movements encouraging rural development, penalizing corrupt practices and ensuring government accountability. Inspired by Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, Anna regularly carried out hunger strikes to promulgate his cause. Anna was awarded the Padma Bhushan — the third-highest civilian award — by the Government of India in 1992 for his efforts in instituting Ralegan Siddhi village as a prototype for others. The film touches the hardships faced by Anna chronicling his life from 1946 onwards, emphasizing the milestones, including how he was canonized as “Anna” – a term in Marathi for a lovable elder brother – after upgrading the ecology and economy of Ralegan Siddhi – a drought prone village in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra.
- Screenplay: Shashank Udapurkar’s film is a profoundly reverential ode to Anna Hazare. While the film inhabits Anna’s life, it cleanses Arvind Kejriwal and the entire IAC junta, giving a one-dimensional outlook with a cock-eyed predisposition. The writing and narration is slothful with overt-dramatization. From an Army man to serving his nation, Shashank’s screenplay is languid and lacks the lucidness.
- Cinematography: Amit Singh’s cinematography is sloppy in some parts and impressive in others. Many scenes are amateurishly shot with panoramic posturing. Especially the 1965 war in Khemkaran sector and some close-up shots where minor flaws are visible. However, the real locations enhance the overall look of the film.
- Art Direction: Anil Watt’s work is praiseworthy notwithstanding the shortcomings of restrained production values.
- Background Music: Amar Mohile’s background score is one of the main turn offs. The jarringly loud music gets disenchanting and sensationalizes an otherwise sober portrayal of story-line. The point of humbleness surrounding Anna sinks under the spiralling music.
- Direction: Shashank Udarpurkar’s direction is a 2 hour laudatory anthem for his hero. Although his writing is austere and toned down, the brusqueness of the tone elevates the character to a cult eulogised to the acme where Anna’s imperfections and defects are flounced in a tribute. One deeply misses the flawed human being behind the demi-god’s aureole. Instead of taming his hero-worship, the director goes full-throttle in naked adoration in which other characters are abridged to obscurities in the background. Udapurkar could have landed in uncultivated boundaries far beyond the jurisdiction of Anna’s public image. Instead, he chooses sentimental fanboyish frame of reference for singing paeans to the visionary.
Performances: Shashank Udapurkar is resoundingly convincing as Anna. While he may have been erratic with his directorial sensibilities, it’s his acting which holds the entire plot. From his hand gesticulation to facial expressions, Shashank matches Anna to precision. It’s the entourage of supporting cast who fade away in the biopic. Govind Namdeo as self-absorbed proprietor of Ralegan Siddhi, Kishore Kadam playing Anna’s father, Daya Shankar Pandey as an alcoholic Ramya, and Sharat Saxena as Bharat Sinha, the Army Commander have their little moments of magnificence but nothing sizeable. Tanishaa Mukerji as the journo sprawling Anna’s journey and Rajit Kapoor anchoring at ABP are a measly add-on to push the story forward.
Verdict: Much like the recently released M.S. Dhoni – The Untold Story, Anna Hazare glorifies the central character to a saintly figure. The unabashed and dull account of Anna is trimmed of character densities and nuances focusing solely on Udapurkar’s heavenly appearance. The subtlety of Anna’s moral supremacy, is somehow, reflected in the narration where Arvind Kejriwal, Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav get zilch mention. Even Kiran Bedi is reduced to the background. The biopic has an overly emotional flavour evocative of the 1950’s with its over-the-top histrionics. However, the core sentiment is very modest akin to Anna’s real life. The ones au courant with the events may find the biopic a tad naïve and simple minded, but for the layman it can be a good visual presentation recounting Anna’s work over the years and the events that shaped up the man he is today.