Cast: Sanjay Chakraborty, Jatin Khurana, Om Puri, Prem Chopra, Rati Agnihotri, Rishi Bhutani, Akhilesh Jain
Director: Milan Ajmera
Rating: * ½
A biopic attempted on independent India’s second Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri, this film tends to join the dots of history rather than tell a flesh and blood story of a fatherless child’s rise from near poverty to assuming office as Prime minister of one of the world’s largest democracies. The script basically punctuates the high-points of Shastriji’s life from the time he lost his father, pursued his studies while staying at his maternal uncle’s inhospitable home, meshed with Chandrashekar Azad and Bhagat Singh, found a guru in Govind Vallabh Pant(Prem Chopra), joined the Quit India movement, became Gandhiji’s number one acolyte, interacted with Nehru(Rishi Bhutani) , Dr.Rajendra Prasad(Om Puri) , Vijayalakshmi Pandit(Rati Agnihotri)and other noted stalwarts of the Freedom struggle and finally came into his own while propping up Indian agriculture and becoming Prime Minister following Nehru’s sudden untimely demise.
The history lesson is welcome but the mode is not. The treatment is a little too dry, unexciting and doesn’t inspire reverence. The very text-bookish format for the story-telling is the main problem here. The casting is imperfect. none of the actors appear suitable for the role playing. The performances are also a little too casual and inhibited to be considered befitting. The film which begins with a song-a la Manoj Kumar, ends in a flat unexpressive tone. The script tends to give more importance to covering important events rather than their effective staging. It’s definitely not the kind of respect that such an historical Icon of the freedom struggle, Lal Bahadur Shastri, deserved.Milan Ajmera would in fact have been better off( and so would we) had he not attempted this patchy, queasy biopic in the first place. Terribly disappointing it is!