Thursday, January 1, 2015

Mohan Joshi Hazir Ho! (1984)

After watching ‘Mohan Joshi Hazir Ho’, a deftly written early 80s flick by Saeed Mirza, one realizes how little of (and in) Mumbai has changed in all these years. Or rather, how little has our society evolved. In fact, watching this movie can lead one to reflect upon how seeds of the modern day degeneration we see around us, had already been sown some decades back…


The film is a depiction of the power struggle between the land grabbing aristocracy and the common man buried under the debris of avarice while also being burdened by the daily skirmishes he has to master for mere self-preservation. And it is a strong depiction indeed, for, despite its simple motif of one man leading a judicial battle against a malicious land-owner, it contains multiple narrative streams, all being helmed by some of the finest parallel cinema actors and performers of the time. Also stark is the sarcastic (and caustic) tone of the proceedings, where humor is sufficiently employed to take digs on pretty much everything that’s lacking in our judicial system, and how it heeds to arm-twisting and delaying tactics of the influential.

One thing that I look forward to in a satirical movie is to see what kind of closure it choses for itself. Does it end on an ‘All is well/All can be well’ note leaving behind a ray of optimism, or whether it revels in the hopelessness of the situation and concludes on a pessimistic note. As this particular movie moves along, the odds for the latter happening keep on getting stronger. More so, the tone of the film is quite unequivocal in regards to this. But despite the unambiguous defeatism of the narrative, it is engrossing for most parts, largely helped by the actors playing out their quirky, well-written characters to the hilt.

Parting Note: The movie is a must watch, if not for everything else, just for the fact that it has hardly lost its relevance even after so many years, and makes points extremely pertinent to even this day.

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