|Image Courtesy: Indiannerve.com|
Sen (Lakshmi), Ranvir Shorey (Rajiv Singhal), Tannishtha (Anita), Saurabh
Shukla (Special Secretary – Freedom Cell), Rajit Kapoor (Mohan Joshi), Vipin
Sharma (Ahirkar), Vikram Gokhale (Chief Minister), Rahul Vohra (Editor), Ganesh
Yadav (Home Minister), Vinay Apte (MLA Olwe), Asrani, Vidya Malwade, Mohan
Kapur (Doctor), Murli Sharma (Godbole), Neha, Achint Kaur, Tapasvi Mehta,
Siddarth Jadhav (Tout)
Mahadevan, CP Surendran
Dastaan: The Freedom File – A film by National Award Winning Filmmaker Anant
Narayan Mahadevan. When I watched this film during Jagran Film Festival in July 2015 at
Delhi, I did feel that I watched one of the best films of my life. After
watching it for the second time in theater on our 69th Independence
Day, I reiterate that, Gour Hari Dastaan is indeed one of the best movies I
have watched in my life. Impeccable directing by Anant Mahadevan.
special about Gour Hari Dastaan: One might wonder, what makes this movie special. There are so many
factors, I would certainly mention a few of them, although I would also ensure
that I don’t steal your right of experiencing the same by watching it on
a biopic on Gour Hari Das, a freedom fighter, who is now 84 years old and
living in Mumbai. It is his story of fighting with lots of patience and
persistence for his own rights against the bureaucracy, red-tapism, corruption
etc. prevailing in our country.
|The Real Gour Hari Das (Image Courtesy: firstpost.com)|
treated, conveyed and directed by Anant Mahadevan. Certain details are covered
in such a natural manner, which is certainly going to leave you spellbound. Terrific
acting by ensemble cast who have put soul into every character: Vinay Pathak as
Gour Hari Das, Konkana Sen as Lakshmi, Ranvir Shorey as Rajiv Singhal, Tannishtha
as Anita are all just awesome. A few other actors who had very less screen
time, but still left a deep impact via their performances viz. Saurabh Shukla,
Rajit Kapoor, Vipin Sharma, Vikram Gokhale, Asrani, Vidya Malwade, Mohan Kapur,
Murli Sharma, Achint Kaur. Veteran Dr. L. Subramaniam’s music needs no mention
and is so good. Even the release date is so well-timed, eve of 69th
Independence Day and it is indeed dedicated to an unsung hero (and many like
him) who was part of freedom struggle. It has received so many accolades and
awards in International Film Festivals. In short, Gour Hari Dastaan is a
perfect combination of ethos, pathos, logos, story, direction, acting etc. This
film is going to move you, touch your hearts. Rather, every Indian is going to
love this film.
Dastaan is the story of Gandhian Freedom Fighter Gour Hari Das (Vinay Pathak).
The film begins with Andre Gide’s quote: “To know how to free oneself is
nothing; the arduous thing is to know what to do with one’s freedom.” This quote
actually sets out the whole tone of the movie. Gour Hari Das, an unsung hero of
our freedom struggle, who first fought for the country, but later on had to
fight against the country.
of the movie shows a teenager trying to escape on railway tracks with a train
running parallelly. Background dialogues mention that the freedom struggle is
not only fought by Nehru or Gandhi, but these young people are also fighters.
They were making mention of Mahatma Gandhi’s Vanar Sena who was part of freedom
struggle. Vanar Sena was basically children’s army, who used to pass on the
secret messages to revolutionaries. Gour Hari Das joined freedom struggle at
the age of 14 in 1945, was also part of this Vanar Sena, fought for country’s
freedom, went to jail.
the decade of 70’s where Gour Hari Das is shown in his house with his son Alok.
Alok wanted to have his father’s Jailor Certificate, which could have fetched
him Engineering college admission in special quota assigned to freedom fighters.
But college principal denies to acknowledge Gour Hari Das as a freedom fighter
on the basis of this certificate. Disappointed Alok vents out his frustration
at his father and asks in doubt – “Were you actually a freedom fighter”. Here
begins the story of Gour Hari Das versus India’s systems. Alok decides to go
abroad for his studies and further career. But Gour Hari Das consistently
continues writing to the Indian Government to grant him Tamarapatra
(Certificate of him being a Freedom Fighter). Standing along with him is his wife
Lakshmi (Konkana Sen Sharma, what a performance by her!), a strong pillar of
support. Lakshmi’s unconditional support reflects so beautifully through her
body language. She is neither judgmental for her husband’s 32 years of fight
nor for her son’s flying abroad for better prospects.
Das, it was a matter of restoring his own identity. When asked by others
whether it is his fight to get the freedom fighter’s pension, he soulfully
conveys, no, it isn’t about pension or any sort of ego. He was part of the
freedom struggle, who fought from Balasore (Odisha) and was jailed for almost
90 days. This was so much part of his identity that if the Tamarapatra was not
given to him, he felt that his identity itself was at stake.
Singhal (Ranvir Shorey) is trying to cover the story of Gour Hari Das in Mid
Day for which he is questioned by his boss, who wants him to focus on gay
rights, the stories which could sell more. Rajiv does not pay heed to his boss
and wants to further explore the truth associated with Gour Hari Das’ story. Anita
(Tannishtha), Rajiv’s colleague, supports him to explore the truth.
continues. It is his struggle for 32 years, knocking 321 doors, writing 1043
letters to different officials, climbing 66000 steps, pleading 2300 times in
the Post-independence period to prove that he was the freedom fighter who was
even blessed by Mahatma Gandhi and jailed for fighting against Britishers. He
visited government offices, influential politicians, ministers, media, jail
officials etc. During this turbulent journey, he was called ‘fraud’, ‘thief’, ‘crazy’,
‘eccentric’ by others. But he continued his journey with strong determination.
But it took away from him 3 decades of lifetime to finally get justice.
the movie and experience his journey. It is amazing to see his perseverance. A
dialogue which stayed with me was: “I feel The British did lot of good, atleast
we knew, who the enemy was?” The tragedy which is depicted in this film is that
Gour Hari first fought for the country’s freedom, but in spite of getting
freedom, later on he had to fight against the country.
|Gour Hari Das with Wife (Image Courtesy: www.indiatimes.com)|
many of them brought tears to my eyes and gave me goosebumps:
Real Gour Hari Das on screen at the end of the film
Gour Hari Das taking out the laminated copy of Jailor’s Certificate to
give it to his son Alok.
Gour Hari Das’s filing all the papers systematically and carrying it
wherever he goes and knocks doors, be it media, be it government officials, be
it home minister etc. He calls it ‘The Freedom File’.
Gour Hari Das’ typing letters to various officials.
The manner in which Lakshmi, son Alok and daughter-in-law Neha break the
news to Gour Hari Das in regard to government sanctioning his Tamarapatra
Gour Hari Das’ expressions when he actually got his Tamarapatra in his
Gour Hari Das’ denying an offer of having tea with the Minister and
telling him, half of his life was spent on fighting for the country, and rest
of his life was wasted in fighting against the country.
Gour Hari Das looking at the boys at a traffic light with a deep sigh
when the boys were trying to sell Indian Flag for 5-10 Rupees.
Gour Hari Das taking his foot back, when he saw the reflection of Indian
Flag on water in road.
The Climax Scene
Award-Winning and other prestigious award winning Team of Gour Hari Dastaan: Anant Narayan
Mahadevan, Konkana Sen Sharma, Tannishtha, Vikram Gokhale, Rajit Kapur, Saurabh
Shukla, Sreekar Prasad (Editor), Anup Dev (Re-Recordist), Resul Pookutty
(Oscar-Winning Sound Designer), Alphonse Roy (Emmy Award-winning
cinematographer), Dr L Subramaniam (Grammy Nominee), Producers-Bindiya
Khanolkar & Sachin Khanolkar.
presence felt in various film festivals
|Image Courtesy: Facebook Page of Gour Hari Dastaan|
every Indian. Perfect blend of ethos, pathos, logos, impeccable direction, acting
by ensemble cast, excellent screenplay. This film is going to move you, touch
your hearts. One question which pops up in mind –“When will we be free in real
sense, and what will we do with this freedom?” This movie is beyond any rating,
I want to give it 5+.