After a long time, here is a Hindi film which dares to enter the spiritual aspect of our blindly lived lives and gives the viewers something to contemplate upon while moving out of the theaters. Based on an enlightening concept talking about the "KARMA theory" defining our re-births here in this world, the film is no doubt written thoughtfully with some noble intentions to make us all aware of our timely existence. But I really wish the same could be said about its execution on the screen too, which sadly is not able to make the right kind of impact as it should have.
Explaining its confusing title MYOHO, the word represents the Buddhist vision and literally means the Mystic Law of the eternal life-force in which whatever is done, comes back to us only and there is no escaping from that law of life in any way. Based on this basic truth the film revolves around two births of its 14 characters in two diverse eras and tries to explain that we all are actually the creators of our own destiny. The first half features the deeds of these 14 people in the year 1934 in the region of Bihar where women were treated as mere objects and the poor were treated as slaves by the wealthy. And the second half features the consequences they have to face for all those deeds done in their last birth, on the day of 26/11 in 2008 when Mumbai was attacked by the terrorists.
Now where the overall concept and thought structure of the film is worth-praising, there it lacks a lot in its depiction of the same on the screen. Most of its first half deals with night sequences and one misses the light and bright scenes in this particular part of the film for too long. The various sequences in its first hour, give you just a vague idea of their actual story lines and it all gets clear only when you get to see the proceedings of their next birth in the second half. Further this initial (1934) part of the film ends on a very weak portrayal of the Earthquake which doesn't reveal its basic purpose to the viewers which is to declare the deaths of all the 14 characters in this natural disaster.
Post intermission, the concept gets much clearer and brighter with the much needed flashback comparisons coming at regular intervals. Still the narration doesn't progress smoothly and fails to make any kind of direct relationship with the burning Mumbai on 26/11. Many sudden additions look deliberately forced (like the rape victim) and the connecting intercuts between its various story lines turn out to be abrupt most of the times. Moreover there are few questionable sequences which are hard to believe in a funny manner like the IIT reference given by the boss and an incapable engineer believing in winning a jackpot through lottery tickets behaving like an uneducated individual.
Performance wise the only two people who are able to make an emotional connection with the audience remain Kanwaljit Singh and Anil Mange, plus the one story which makes an instant impact on the mind is of Brijendra Kala & his wife. The rest of the performances keeps hanging between fine and average whereas a few also reach the level of being loud. The cinematography gives too much emphasis on close-ups and background score is a bit more than required at places. However few good songs composed by Runa Rizvi compensate for these major hic-ups lead by Haq Ali Da (sung by Master Saleem & lyrics by Kumar) and Vande Maatram (sung by Neha Rizvi & lyrics by Sri Rajesh Johri).
To conclude MYOHO can easily be rated as a brave and insightful attempt by director Ranjan Shandilya which surely sounds great, if considered as a spiritual novel or an out of the box script reminding you of films such as Mumbai Meri Jaan (2008) and Yeh Mera India (2008). But its on screen execution ought to be much better in order to take the concept to the next level. Yet, the film strongly makes you aware of your KARMA and also warns that we are in fact the builders of our own future through our present deeds. And taking a clue about its director's thought process and vision from the film itself, I would not be surprised if he delivers a better, fine tuned product next time based on another thought provoking subject moving ahead of the present routine Hindi Cinema.
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