‘Serious Men’ Movie Review: Sudhir Mishra brings the best out of Nawazuddin Siddiqui in a nuanced and much-relatable film
Bombay Fables, Cineraas Entertainment
Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Indira Tiwari, Aakshath Das, Nassar, Sanjay Narvekar, Shweta Basu Prasad
Bollywood Bubble RatingWhat’s It About
The story follows Ayyan Mani (Nawazuddin Siddiqui), a middle-aged Dalit working as an assistant to a Brahmin astronomer (Naseer) at the Institute of Theory and Research in Mumbai. He lives in a slum with his wife and a son. Furious at his situation in life, Ayyan develops an outrageous story that his 10-year-old son is a genius – a lie which later gets out of control. Will he be able to get the best for his child? Will he be able to squirm his way out of this lie? Well, for that you’ll have to watch the movie.
Nawazuddin Siddiqui comes up with a layered performance of a slum-dweller from Mumbai who has big dreams in life and sees them via the eyes of his son. It’s a shame that a person so talented had to wait for over a decade to get his big break into films. This performance of Nawaz can be a textbook example of how to play a character with great amounts of zest and humour but at the same time making sure it’s not loud and totally remains grounded. The way Nawaz’s eyes lit up while talking about science is something that can be seen in actors who’re totally emersed into the character. One could say that his character was simply of a common slum-dweller, but it is these small nuances that Nawaz brings into his performance in Serious Men which make his character relatable, believable and grounded. Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s nuanced performance shows you can achieve greatness with simplicity. A fab job, I must say!
The supporting cast members, Indira Tiwari, Aakshath Das and Nassar have done applause-worthy characters. Not only in the look and feel but even the way in which they talk make you believe their natural habitat. For example, Nasser as a genius scientist has been shown as someone coming from South India and every dialogue and nuance from him gives you the feel of that. Same goes for Indira and Aakshath.
Sudhir Mishra, who is back to direction after quite some time, is in his natural self, telling a story which is real, rooted and can be related by people from all classes and all age groups. It’s the way he and writer Bhavesh Mandalia
have adapted Manu Joseph’s book of the same name which makes this film a very serene experience. Even though the movie hadn’t been promoted too much, and a lot was not being expected out of it, it’s really a breath of fresh air, and a huge part of it can be accredited to the smooth writing and direction by these two gentlemen.
To add to it, the brilliance of Manu Joseph’s story reflects in this film. How a father is compelled to do whatever he can due to a childhood memory of his is something that makes everyone feel relatable when the climax of the movie unfolds.
The music of the movie comprises of just a couple of songs, and one of them ‘Raat Hai Kaala Chhata’, sung by Swanand Kirkire, is something that will give you the feels of old 1950s songs. It’s something that is good to sit and listen to on repeat even when the movie is done. Surely a gem, which might get lost in the numerous techno-music that keeps coming these days.
Shweta Basu Prasad and Sanjay Narvekar didn’t have enough character in the film, which could ideally justify their genius. To add to it, there was actually no relevance or clarity over why Shweta Basu Prasad was shown as handicapped in the movie. A normal lady politician could have also done the trick there.
The minimal promotion of the movie is sure to impact the project’s popularity. The film could have been one of the best ones to have been released this year, but unfortunately, it will end up popping up in lists like ’20 Gems From 2020 You Must Have Missed.’
There is hardly anything else that’s not praiseworthy in the movie.
This is indeed a MUST-WATCH. Nawazuddin is in top form after quite a long time, and so is Sudhir Mishra. I am going with 4 stars.