20 June 2007 | gunsha
Gold in the off-beaten track.
This film is worth years of searching the off-beaten track at the sidelines of Bollywood hits. Here is a piece of pure Gold in the bargain bin. Pain of Faith: Hanan - An Assault on Faith. This is the ultimate film. The redeemer of Devaki, the avenger of Saanvri, the answer to Pratha, yes even the son of Phoolan Devi herself. Paagal hai! Genial bhi hai! The drum plays and the powers of heaven come down to make a film you just have to watch -- if you've got the true spirit, that is.
This film is about a man lovingly stigmatized as "Pagla" (Manoj Bajpai). He lives at Sri Bhagwati Devi Mandir in the village. He plays the drum, like Bagha in Lagaan. He can speak though, just is retarded, or is he? The film begins with Seema Biswas, the "contractors" abused wife accusing the goddess for not looking after the women. She curses the goddess, who shall find no peace in her world until she makes a good husband. And with these words the woman drowns herself in the river. To atone for this curse the contractor offers a Girl to the temple (wow, what an excellent idea, that ought to work!) Uska naam kya hai? Bhagwati, ha! (Sonali Kulkarni). Also lovingly called "Pagli". So begins quite a cute story of Pagla and Pagli who in their madness seem the only true human beings. They marry themselves, as Pagal knows to recite all the necessary mantras himself. But the people of the village won't let them be. And so, a journey begins which is just lovely and hilarious and exciting and too precious to give away in a summary.
Things come full circle at the end and you will see the clash of atheism and religion, evil and good, death and life, all in these two human beings and their world around. Will religion win or humanity? Both? None? Gotta watch! Picture is very nice, music is nice, what a beat! Rural, rustic, down to earth, heavens themselves bump down into earth here. There are some really nice memorable songs on it. Dhol Dhol Dhol has that rustic beat of Pagla's drum around the village temple, Pal Pal Ko Sajana Hai (part 1 and 2) is a beautiful love song, and to think of Pagla and Pagli having fun in it -- their way -- makes it extra special to hear. Haat Baje To is wonderfully recited piece in a religious festival, and the final Dil Ki Dua makes a strikingly soft contrast to a highly dramatic development of the film.
This film is a special treat, it can leave some viewers quite puzzled, but it is very unique and memorable. Do yourself the favor and watch this one. It is a wonderful story and won't let you down. I gave it a straight 10/10.