21 October 2019 | nairtejas
MAMI MFF Review: Aadhaar (6 Stars)
Vineet Kumar is a gem and his Aadhaar (a govt.-issued identity card in India; English: support) is an even better stone that is the exact type of non-didactic entertainment you need in the current times in India. He stars as a small-time potter and full-time Lord Hanuman devotee in a remote district in Jharkhand along with his newcomer co-actor who plays his taciturn yet bubbly better half, together who dive into the confusing and often ironical world of a government scheme. Aadhaar humourises the invention of the eponymous scheme (unique identification card) by the Government of India and does it with so much finesse and candour without being afraid it is bound to have an impact on you days after you have left the cinema hall. Kumar's gullible Parshua character, based on a real-life person's story from the same state, is sent on a self-induced tizzy when his fickle mind is fueled by a mystic (Sanjay Mishra) that his Aadhaar (UIDAI) number is cursed (because of planetary movement and numerology) and will be detrimental to his success, especially his wife who will receive death come full moon day. And so begins his struggle to do the impossible, and on the way, Ghosh and his co-writer Amitosh Nagpal take highly inflammable potshots at the idea of such an identification card that has contradictory values and advantages.
A critique of the critical system is evident but what Aadhaar is more is the depiction of how even after government's half-handed tries at developing the country (i.e. turning Bharat into India; with a character quipping if these are two countries) it still has a lot many things to do. How superstition and blind faith and other social evils can not only hamper such new schemes with development written on the masthead but also act useless for its exact purpose. Kumar's performance is also highlighted in the wonderful chemistry between his character and his wife, that is also so organic you fall in love with them too. The frequent bulbs of comedy by Ishtiyak Khan, probably one of the most underrated comedians of modern times, maintains the lively atmosphere in Aadhaar and it is because of this satirical nature with underlying messages that this comedy social drama works and brings a smile to your face. I had issues with the lukewarm and quick ending but it still is a welcome breath of fresh air into Bollywood. It has wicked, comical poems, pure depiction of village innocence, reflection of India's backward condition, and everything else that you might expect from a political satire. Produced by Drishyam Films, this is one to watch out for. TN.
(Watched and reviewed at its India premiere at the 21st MAMI Mumbai Film Festival.)