What: On screen adaptation of the book by the same name by Manu Joseph by Sudhir Mishra.
Serious Men synopsis
Ayyan Mani (Nawazuddin Siddiqui), a middle-aged Dalit working as an assistant to a Brahmin astronomer Acharya (Nassar) at the Institute of Theory and Research in Mumbai, lives in slum with his wife played by Indira Tiwari and son Adi (Aakshath Das). Furious at his situation in life, Ayyan develops an outrageous story that his 10-year-old son is a mathematical genius – a lie which later gets out of control.
Serious Men movie review
Hazaron ḳhvahishen aisi ki har ḳhvahish pe dam nikle
bahut nikle mire armān lekin phir bhī kam nikle
(I have a thousand yearnings, each one afflicts me so
Many are fulfilled for sure, not enough although)
What Mirza Ghalib has to do with this? Well not directly but in a way, Sudhir Mishra may have simplified the biting sensationalism of Manu Joseph’s novel for cinematic effect.
It gets satirical at points and does makes a comment but the sweeping effect is clearly missing.
The class struggles which is much sharper in the novel lacks the killer instinct after some initial bites and lampoons on the unwanted mixture of genres it gets into which reduces the striking performance of Nawazuddin Siddiqui just an act that searches for a proper script to match the calibre.
More of a coming of age father-son story with a twisty Balu Mahendra’s Sadma (1983) starring Kamal Hassan and Sridevi and/or Manoj Kumar’s Shor (1972) kind of effect.
Serious Men is a pseudo adaptation designed to please the pseudo intellectuals.
Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Nassar are terrific. The kid Aakshath Das is a wonder. Solid support comes from Indira Tiwari, Sanjay Narvekar and Shweta Basu Prasad.
Any scene that should be deleted at once
The swimming pool scene
Any memorable dialogue or scene
The one where Nawazuddin Siddiqui talks about different offers from different schools for his ‘wonder’ child.
Watch it if you love Nawazuddin Siddiqui than anything else.