NEW DELHI: First of all, the movie is based on the true story of Dashrath Manjhi, also known as the “The Mountain Man.
Manjhi was born in 1934 and died in 2007. He was a poor labourer in Gehlaur village, near Gaya in Bihar, who carved a path through a 360-foot-long, 30-foot-wide and 25-foot-high hillock using only a hammer and chisel.
It took him 22 years to shorten the travel between the Atri and Wazirganj blocks of Gaya town from 55 kilometers to 15 kilometers.
The movie revolves around this remote village of Gehlaur which is cut off from the rest of the world by a mountain range, and the love story of Manjhi, which is essayed by actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui, and Phalguniya, a role played by actress Radhika Apte.
Manjhi is madly in love with his wife to be, but has to move away from the village for seven years to work in a coal mine in a town nearby. On returning, he finds out that his father-in-law to be wants his daughter to get married to a rich guy. Manjhi then decides to elope and marry Phalguniya and they start living happily.
One fateful day, when a pregnant Phalguniya is carrying food for Manjhi on a mountain, she slips and falls to her death, but the yet to be born child survives.
That’s when Manjhi vents out his anger on the mountain by hammering at it. Also, while doing all this, he decides to carve a path through the mountain so that nobody else faces the same tragedy he did.
From here on then the movie depicts his struggle.
The movie touches upon the Zamindari system prevalent between the 1960’s and 1980’s in India. The amount of corruption that Zamindars indulged in was horrendous and they also did not obey government orders such as abolishing the practice of untouchability.
Performance-wise, both Radhika and Nawazuddin are brilliant. The movie’s direction and screen play is equally superb. For such biopics, you don’t need music. This movie is certainly a must watch, as it shows what determination, persistence, patience and dedication can achieve.
It also suggests that you can do anything if you set your mind to it.