Review: Saare Jahaan Se Mehnga by Joginder Tuteja

Saare Jahaan Se Mehnga Review by Indicine Critic Joginder Tuteja

Come on now! Is this film really required to be taken seriously? Ok, so the thought behind the subject was topical (inflation), the medium was just right (satire) and the actors chosen were in synch as well (they do come across as a common man). However, and yet again, its the basics that end up faltering. Add to that a telefilm appeal of the entire 100 odd minutes affair, and that too belonging to the world of Doordarshan from the 80s, and you know that ‘Saare Jahan Se Mehenga’ is hardly a film where you actually want to sit down and have a dekko. Ok, so it is not bad, courtesy a few hilarious moments interspersed in the narrative as well as a ‘natural’ feel to the proceedings. However in the times when expectations have soared for any and every film, be it big or a small film, this one would find it difficult to find a place for itself in this ‘jahaan’.

Saare Jahaan Se MehngaSaare Jahaan Se Mehnga Movie Review

The core theme of the film was well established in the promos and one has to acknowledge the makers for making a true effort in promoting it well despite character artists coming together in this ensemble affair. However it is tough to imagine a viewer actually being charged enough to watch this tale on screen, whether big or small. Add to that the fact that the film has an implausible plot of a masterplan centred on storing groceries for three years at stretch, just so that years down the line a family won’t have to fight price rise, and you know that this satire has entered into an unbelievable territory.

The cracks are visible in the beginning itself when the film doesn’t really bring on the kind of continued smiles and laughs that one expected from a tale like this. Yes, the makers have done well in not cutting a sorry figure of the family that is spearheaded by Sanjay Mishra. With a grumbling father, an accommodating and practical wife and a brother who is yet to find his purpose in life, the stage is set for a comic and engaging outing in the making.

However not all films can be ‘Do Dooni Chaar’, despite the right intentions and this is what brings ‘Saare Jahan Se Mehenga’ down. Viewers would remember that the Rishi Kapoor and Neetu Singh starrer, yet again set in Delhi, was about a family of four trying to make ends meet and also dream of a car. What kept the film running though was a very strong emotional connect that the characters had managed to make with the audience. Moreover, the film wasn’t one-dimensional as there were other angles thrown in as well that brought in the spice. In case of ‘Saare Jahan Se Mehenga’, the film just starts losing the plot as it progresses and by the time the character played by Zakir Hussain starts his hunt and tries to dig the truth behind the rationing, your patience dies down.

This is the reason why despite this being a short and sweet affair, you are not thoroughly engaged in the state of affairs. However what keeps the film from entirely dying down are the characters that are straight out of life and makes one relate to them. Sanjay Mishra has time and again got the common man part right and he is just perfect in this film as well. It won’t be wrong to say that he is the soul of the film. Moreover he gets good support from those playing his family members. Dialogues too are witty at times though (sadly) they start losing steam in the latter half of the film when humour makes way for pathos.

All in all, as the end credits start rolling, one is left unmoved by what ends up playing on screen. For a film which was aimed at touching your heart and move you emotionally, it doesn’t quite end up doing the job right.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

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