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Anna Review – Inspiring life-story, uninspiring execution


Anna Hazare's biopic suffers from unimpressive writing and presentation. 

Keyur Seta

Rating: 2/5

Anna Hazare is a social activist who single-handedly transformed his village Ralegan Siddhi and then went onto become an anti-corruption crusader. Debutant director and actor Shashank Udapurkar’s Anna traces his life from the time he was a kid. Anna, whose original name is Kisan Baburao Hazare, hails from the family of farmers. 

He struggles as a student in his school. Once when he lied to his teacher as he hadn’t done his homework, his mother points out the importance of being truthful. Kisan obeys his mother’s advice for the rest of his life. After growing up, becomes a soldier while facing hardships. But there comes a time when he loses interest in life. 

Just when he was about to commit suicide, his eyes fall on Swami Vivekananda’s book. He aborts his decision and decides to devote his time to nation building. Kisan realizes that to achieve that, every village should be developed first. So, he quits the army and vows to make his village self-sufficient. He then goes onto lead India Against Corruption movement for the implementation of Jan Lokpal Bill. 

To make an inspiring biopic, one needs to choose an inspirational life story. But this is just an initial step. An inspirational story ceases to appear one if it suffers at the execution level. This is exactly the problem with Anna. Some unimpressive narration and presence makes sure that the biopic hardly has any effect on you. 

The first half suffers from a haphazard screenplay. The early phases of Anna’s life lack proper flow. There is hardly any link between scenes. The most important incident of Anna deciding to end his life is just not convincing. It seems as if the protagonist suddenly started hating his life. So, obviously, his change of decision also hardly has any effect on you. 

The events in the second half when Anna fights for the development of his village does gain your interest somewhat. But it soon fizzles out, mostly due to an ineffective ending portions. It is also during this period that you realize that the film is unevenly divided. The first half is about an hour long while the post-interval portions go well above that. It is also questionable to not include the characters of people who were instrumental in Anna’s movement, especially Arvind Kejriwal. 

The makers have included a couple of songs. ‘Ek Shaam Churale Yara’ sounds okay but the visuals of Shashank Udapurkar dancing uncomfortably in army uniform is unintentionally hilarious. ‘Annapurna Dharti’ succeeds in creating the effect. It is also good to hear Udit Narayan after long. The film’s technical department (cinematography and background score) fall in the average category. 

Playing the central character in a biopic is a tremendous responsibility for anyone. Shashank Udapurkar makes a confident debut and keeps the interest alive even when the film is suffering. But during the anshan episode, the continuous round hand movements makes him look mechanical. His idea of mimicking the real Anna Hazare also should have been avoided. His character also suffers due to the make-up department. When he is supposed to look young as a soldier, he appears older. Later on, he looks much younger when he is supposed to look 74-year-old. 

Apart from him, Kishore Kadam, as Anna’s father, stands out through a mature performance. The actress playing his mother is also not bad. Dayashankar Pandey overdoes as a drunkard. Govind Namdeo, as the antagonist, does the same thing he has been doing since ages. Tanisha Mukherji and Rajit Kapoor get no scope. Watch out for the actress impersonating Kiran Bedi for more unintentional laughter. 

Overall, Anna hardly has any motivational impact. The lack of publicity and the content will make the film a failure at the box-office. The timing of the film is also not right because Anna’s movement has fizzled out and the Jan Lokpal Bill is still not implemented. 

Director: Shashank Udapurkar
Producers: Mahindra Jain
Writers: Shashank Udapurkar
Cast: Shashank Udapurkar, Kishore Kadam, Dayashankar Pandey, Govind Namdeo, Tanisha Mukherji, Rajit Kapoor 
Music: Ravindra Jain
Genre: Drama
Runtime: 142 minutes