SERIOUS MEN;1h 54m; Producer-Director Sudhir Mishra; Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Shweta Basu Prasad, Nassar, Sanjay Narvekar, Indira Tiwari, Aakshath Das; Netflix; 2020.
By Neeraj Nanda
MELBOURNE, 10 October 2020: A Dalit man who works as an assistant under an upper-caste scientist promotes his promising son through a shortcut. The son who has good scientific knowledge gets additional knowledge through a hearing aid – blue tooth combination at functions. Basically, merit is everything in an unequal world. The son moves up the social ladder but life goes out of control.
The movie is an adaptation of Tony Joseph’s novel of the same name. This streaming service movie comes at a time when India is discussing the alleged rape and killing of a 19-year-old Dalit girl by four upper-caste men in Uttar Pradesh. The fact that caste thrives in today’s India has reflected in all spheres of social life whether it is crime, employment, and day to day talks. Stark discrimination in blunt and scuttle ways is news each day.
Serious Men is a family’s determination to make their son move ahead in an adverse social milieu. The director succeeds in highlighting the issue with a rather sweet narrative. Many scenes and dialogues highlight the issues a Dalit family faces. It’s the way out of this that makes an interesting step by step film rooted in its delicate but real subject.
Nawazuddin Siddiqui gives a brilliant performance along with others doing justice to their roles. One wishes Sudhir Mishra’s bold social drama effort makes a dent in the otherwise dismal conservative atmosphere. It is not easy to crack the mold. But Serious Men is a step ahead.