13 Oct 2020
There’s a healthy collection of Indian TV series / webseries and movies on Netflix and Amazon nowadays. Some Malayalam film makers even release their movie on Prime Video. Serious Men, a Hindi movie was released on Netflix recently and I caught up on it last night. Nawazuddin Siddiqui plays a father who tries to climb the social ladder by making everybody believe that his son is a child prodigy. It’s a commentary on our education system and the expectation of parents who could never make it big and try to fulfill their dreams through their children. Nawaz is brilliant throughout the movie and it’s fun to watch him turn around the subtle interrogation of his caste that makes others squirm in their chair. Or when the school tries to suggest accepting Jesus for certain benefits. He knows exactly what to say or do to get people to do his bidding. That is until his scam unravels. Even then he is able to convince his former boss who helps him get an ‘exit’ and ends up living a simple life in Kerala. There’s no redemption arc for Nawaz’s character. The only thing he comes close to something like that is allowing his son to be a normal kid. The line which Nawaz utters, and which he had made his son memorize, at the end of the movie, “I can’t deal with primitive minds” seems to suggest that the weight of his lifelong dream and ambition has finally crushed him.
Overall a good watch. The more I read reviews about the book - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serious_Men - on which the movie is based, the more I feel like the movie adaptation is a heavily watered down version. I know what my next book will be.
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