Movie Review: 'Saare Jahaan Se Mehnga' is worth a watch
The ApunKaChoice movie review of Saare Jahaan Se Mehnga. It could’ve been a painful irony for a satire on mehngai to not be worth the price of its ticket money. Gladly, director Anshul Sharma’s Saare Jahaan Se Mehnga, for all its warts, is a delectable entertainer worth a watch.
I’m sure you must have seen or been a part of the mad scramble at petrol pumps just hours before the price of fuel is hiked by the government. Now, imagine if people could get their cars and scooters tanked for a whole year -- or better three years -- and thus stave off the back-breaking maar of mehngai that returns to haunt every few months! Well, such is precisely the idea behind the plot of Saare Jahaan Se Mehnga.
The story is set in a typical low-income family of four in Sonepat. Puttan (Sanjay Mishra) works in a government outlet and his wife Noori (Pragati Pandey) runs a beauty parlour. Together the duo just about manage to make ends meet and keep two other stomachs beside theirs fed -- that of Puttan’s sharp-tongued, tetchy father (Vishwa Mohan Badola) and Puttan’s good-for-nothing, jobless, lazy younger brother Gopal (Ranjan Chabbra).
Tormented by frequent rises in the price of aata, daal and other eatables, the family hits upon an ingenious idea of escaping the scourge of mehngai. All’s well until a loan officer comes knocking on their door after smelling something fishy.
The rawboned humour of the film with its digs at corruption and black money is verily relatable. In one scene a character’s protestations about 280 lakh crores of black money stashed in Swiss banks is followed by the apt rejoinder by another character, who asks: “280 lakh ya crore?”
The performances are simply topnotch. Sanjay Mishra is verily the image of a common man -- beleaguered, harried, and yet never shy of a boast when he has enough to afford a mutton. Vishwa Mohan Badola as the ill-tempered father does seem to go overboard at times, but we know such characters do exist in our small mohallas and nukkads. Pragati Pandey too is an image of a woman-next-door, waxing the arms of brides-to-be at special discounts in her parlour.
The film does take off well, but seems to lose its bite when it veers into a romantic track involving Puttan’s younger brother. The plot thickens with the arrival of the loan inspector (Zakir Hussain) following which the family is set scampering pillar to post to cover up their shenanigans.
A neat, pertinent, watchable satire that every middle-class person will easily relate to.