Sunday 15 September 2013

Mohan Joshi Hazir Ho! (Summons for Mohan Joshi) [1984]

Saeed Akhtar Mirza’s Mohan Joshi Haazir Ho!, an important work of the 80’s ‘Parallel Cinema’ movement in India, was a trenchant satire on the plight of middle and lower middle class tenants in the Indian metropolises as well as on the ridiculousness of the Indian legal system. On a broader scale, though, this was a decidedly socialistic film that superbly portrayed the incessant urban desire for growth and development at utter disregard for those at the bottom of the pyramid. The titular Mohan Joshi (Bhisham Sahni) is a middle-aged man frustrated at the squalor and dilapidation of the old and decrepit apartment in Bombay he stays in. When he approaches his wealthy landlord (Amjad Khan) with requests for repair, he’s literally shooed away by him at the behest of two perennially dark-suited and sunglass donning promoters, he, along with his ever supportive wife (Dina Pathak), decides to take legal recourse, and engages the services of a slimy, smooth-talking lawyer (Naseeruddin Shah) and his unctuous protégé (Satish Shah). And thus begins a darkly humorous and unending odyssey where this simple man and his family get painful doses of bureaucracy, apathy, legal connivances, corruption and utter self-centeredness during his years of silent and hopeful struggle. His tragic journey, in fact, turned akin to a game of snakes and ladders with the former heavily outnumbering the latter, and provided a blistering metaphor for the harsh realities for a common man. The marvelously etched script did a perfect balance between ironies, parodies and sarcasms on one hand, and anger and poignancy on the other, while the acting of the ensemble cast, which also included Deepti Naval, Rohini Hattangadi and Pankaj Kapur, among others, was uniformly brilliant.

Director: Saeed Akhtar Mirza
Genre: Drama/Black Comedy/Social Satire/Ensemble Film
Language: Hindi
Country: India


Sam Juliano said...

Not a film I'm likely to get a chance to see, but I must say a brilliant review, and quite a glowing recommendation here!

Shubhajit said...

Well Sam, this film is available on Youtube, but unfortunately the print quality there doesn't make it worth watching. I do hope that you get to watch it some day - its a brilliant satire.

chant of chalazion said...

Wish mr.Sahni acted some more films...he's too of the cast too gave top-notch performance.saeed mirza has always been a pro-people director who lashes out against the injustice of society.this one is a tragicomic take on it...kudos