'Gour Hari Dastaan - The Freedom File'
Director: Ananth Mahadevan
Cast: Vinay Pathak, Konkana Sen Sharma
More attention seems to have been paid to the dialogues than the storytelling
During one of his umpteen visits to the government office, the clerk asks him where he is from. "Orissa", he says, and the staffer wonders, "Is Orissa a part of Bengal?" He can't locate the state on the map hanging from the office wall. Ignorance is bliss for the government babu, but not for freedom fighter Gour Hari Das. When Das takes a closer look at the map, he finds that its eastern edge has been folded. The government babu couldn't care less -- he is in a rush to catch his Virar local on time -- but with a never-say-die attitude, Das sets out to right the wrong.
The film is based on the true story of Das, who battled bureaucracy for over 30 years to get what was due to him — a certificate officially recognising him as a freedom fighter. With patriotic fervour in the air, the film is timely and chronicles the sacrifice of one of the countless Indians who played a part in freeing the country from British control. But unlike director Ananth Mahadevan's first biopic, the award-winning 'Mee Sindhutai Sapkal' (2011), this one is a tad listless.
Vinay Pathak does a notable act as Das, but his look does not match the several years that the story spans across. Konkana Sen Sharma provides able support as his exasperated wife, who feels he is losing it since his resolve to obtain the official document remains firm. Ranvir Shorey plays a scribe who follows the freedom fighter's story and does his bit though he has his own issues of dealing with broken relationships and feminists. There are a host of character actors like Saurabh Shukla, Vikram Gokhale, Asrani, Achint Kaur, Rajit Kapoor and Vipin Sharma who flit in and out of their bit roles.
As most part of the film revolves around Das' visits to the government office, the narrative becomes a tad too prosaic. The flashback to his early days, when he was part of the Vanar Sena in Balasore, do little to break the sluggish pace.
A biopic needs to be engaging, but in 'Gour Hari Dastaan', more attention seems to have been paid to the dialogues than the storytelling. It hardly evokes emotions in you and make you feel for the trials and tribulations of the man struggling for his due. Go for it if you want to soak in the Independence Day spirit.
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