Serious Men (2020) is an engaging film that is about a father’s love for his son presented in the background of the caste imbalances that persist even in the corridors of science in India. It is based on the award-winning book of the same name by Manu Joseph, which I had bought ten-years ago, but had left unread. The film is available on Netflix India.
Nawazuddin Siddiqui, comes as the father Ayyan Mani and carries the entire film. Hailing from a lower caste (Dalit) he feels side-lined at the Government’s premium research institute led by Dr Acharya (played by veteran Nassar) who is from the upper-class (Brahmin). Aspiring for a better life for his family, he develops his young son Adi (played by Aakshath Das) to be a boy-genius and exploits his newly found fame. Fame always comes with a price, what was that, how did the family handle it, forms the story. I was put off by the stereotypical characters like Dr Acharya, the Christian convent school authorities, the rich politician Keshav & his daughter Anuja. The ending exonerated few of the characters in a way that had me like them.
There were a lot of interesting sequences in the film like when Mani takes his pregnant wife Oja Mani (Indira Tiwari) to a five-star hotel for a coffee by the poolside reserved for their guests; when the principal of the school had called the parents of Adi for a meeting, how Mani turns the situation to his advantage; how he brainwashes the young friend of Adi to keep their secret; and so on.
I liked the way the film was sharply editing, with no lengthy dialogues or preludes. Good work by Director Sudhir Mishra.