Film Review: Mumbai Meri Jaan

Bottom line: A tragedy on rails fictionalized with feeling.

Opened: August 22

CHENNAI, India -- Director Nishikant Kamat continues his chronicle of the teeming metropolis of Mumbai (formerly Bombay) with "Mumbai Meri Jaan" ("Mumbai My Love"), a fictionalized look at the dismay, shock and suffering of its citizens during the July 2006 train blasts. The movie captures the trauma of a few people directly and indirectly hit by the explosions in several intra-city trains set off by Muslim terrorists. It may not be art-house stuff, but could hope to have decent boxoffice in larger cities where terror is a growing fear.

Nikhil Agarwal's (R. Madhavan) enormous concern for the environment does not let him drive his own car to office. So he takes a local train. When a bomb rips it apart, he escapes only because he was in the wrong coach. Rupali Joshi (Soha Ali Khan) is a television anchor whose news breaks emerge from other people's heartbreaks till she finds herself at the wrong end the microphone.

Thomas ("The Namesake's" Irrfan Khan) sells tea on the road and uses the Mumbai tragedy to take revenge on an upscale shopping mall that had humiliated him. Suresh (Kay Kay Menon), who hates Muslims, turns into an amateur sleuth trying to nail an extremist. Beat cop Tukaram Patil (Paresh Rawal), corrupt to the core but humorous to the hilt, turns out to be a great character, shining his torch not at the crevices of crime but at the follies of the force.

Kamat's work, despite its deeply moving subject, disappoints on a couple of fronts. The stories seem to float away from rather than toward one another. Some performances appear flat. Madhavan's is one, and surprisingly Khan's, despite his bright record, is another. Both look uncomfortable in roles that do not fit them well. However, Rawal is wonderful and carries with a flourish much of the film. Production values are modest.

Production company: UTV Motion Pictures. Cast: Kay Kay Menon, Irrfan Khan, R. Madhavan, Paresh Rawal, and Soha Ali Khan. Director: Nishikant Kamat. Screenwriter: Yogesh Vinayak Joshi. Producer: Ronnie Screwvala. Director of photography: Sanjay Jadhav. Music: Sameer Phaterpekar. Production directors: Mahesh Salgaonkar, Dhanjoy Mondal, Parimal Das Poddar. Editor: Amit Pawar. No MPAA rating, 134 minutes.