Rating: 2.5/5 Stars (Two and half stars)
Star Cast: Rahul Bose, Aditi Inamdar, S. Mariya, Dhritiman Chatterjee, Heeba Shah, Harshavardhan, Arif Zakaria, Gyanendra Tripathi
Director: Rahul Bose
What’s Good: Rahul Bose’s attempt at bringing forth a story that many of us don’t know must be lauded.
What’s Bad: How archaic the film’s presentation gets is slightly annoying. This underdog story never manages to rise above its potential.
Loo Break: Yes! You could use a few.
Watch or Not?: At best, Poorna should have been a short film that tells us an inspiring story. As a feature film that Bose probably wanted to taste commercial success too, it fails to balance out on the realism and drama, hence not a must-watch.
IPS officer Pravin Kumar (Rahul Bose) voluntarily takes up a non-uniform job in Public Welfare department in Telangana. He is assigned to examine the status of state run schools, who are grappling with high drop-out rates for girls in the age group of 12-13. It is here that he comes across Poorna (Aditi Inamdar) who on insistance of her cousin sister, Priya (S Mariya) is enrolled to a state run school that shelters children and also provides them mid day meals. Priya is forced into a marriage by her parents but manages to convince Poorna’s parents to let her continue education.
While at the new school, Poorna gets new friends and in an extracurricular activity event, discovers her talent for rock climbing. This talent is further nurtured by Praveen who sends her and a fellow student to train for more and is further enrolled for a Mt Everest camp.
While on her expedition, Poorna catches high fever. Will she be able to complete the mission is what is left to see.
Poorna Review: Script Analysis
Poorna‘s story is certainly jaw-dropping. How many 13 year old underprivileged girls you know have the talent and will to climb the Mt Everest without any fear? Yes, it is inspiring in many ways and that’s where the film score good. It is a story that needs to be heard. In 2014, Poorna Malavath achieved this task of being the youngest woman in history to scale the Everest. Why it is important is because of the circumstances she rose from. The mix of Hindi and Telugu in dialogues works well for the story’s setting.
Where the film’s script mainly hits the right notes is how cleverly it showcases the role of bureaucracy. When Praveen Kumar, a public welfare sector officer, has a meal with the children, he realizes what are the problems they are facing. Where is the mid day meal money going is what bureaucrats like him need to ask.
Where the story lets you down is making it extremely formulaic. The hint of realism is lost in scenes where the writers desperately want you to pity and empathize with Poorna and those at her level. Weren’t we supposed to feel proud rather than pity her? Particularly, in the second half, the film drops with emotional turmoil of death and further, a very Bollywoodish sentimental letter that forces Poorna to take the expedition just when she is contemplating it. It exactly suffers like Mary Kom in this case.
Poorna Review: Star Performance
Aditi Inamdar as Poorna gives a good performance and is convincing enough as a scared yet strong willed Poorna.
Rahul Bose who directs the film as well as acts in it, is seen as the IPS officer Praveen Kumar. He pulls off his act well, except the uncomfortable Telugu that he speaks.
S Mariya as Poorna’s cousin Priya does a fabulous job. She has a powerful screen presence.
Poorna Review: Direction, Music
Rahul Bose has returned to direction after 15 years. While his choice of story is great, it’s the execution that pulls the film down. In one of the interviews, Bose explained how he wanted the film to not be a ‘festival film’. Well, sadly in his quest for a commercially appealing film, what we get is not good enough.
Bose’s camera captures the rural setting extremely well. Also, one of the scene where he is forced to shutdown a school due to high rate of drop outs has been well directed. It is disheartening to see Praveen Kumar standing amidst an empty school with a failure feeling.
Another scene that gets to you is certainly a group of children resorting to humor in telling tales of their ironically poor state. It is here that Poorna mentions her name itself having the word ‘poor’.
The expedition scenes have been captured well, but I just wish we saw more of that journey than Poorna losing a close one in the film and also her ‘hypothetical’ meet with that person while on her way to the Everest.
The songs are extremely boring and serve as a hindrance in the film. There’s that forced ‘inspiring’ number, Kuch Parbat Hilayein which completely bores you out.
Clocked at 1 hour 45 minutes, the film makes a point only in a few places and the rest of the time seems to be a social commentary on Indians below the poverty line.
Poorna Review: The Last Word
Poorna‘s story is inspiring but the film’s journey is not. It comes across as a mediocre attempt at putting across story that is supposed to wow you. A 2.5/5 for this.
Poorna releases on 31 March, 2017.
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