Cast: Ranvir Shorey, Gracy Singh, Rajpal Yadav, Simran Sharma, Arif Zakaria, Mahesh Thakur, Yatharth Ratnum
Director: Suman Ganguli
Is life all about winning? Or accepting defeat gracefully when one has lost, and getting on with the life? The advent of reality television music and dance shows in India has created a boom time for music and dance schools, which as byproducts of the glamour industry, have spawned another industry of wannabes, who know little about gruelling hard work, or the fiercely competitive life that it entails. These shows fail to reiterate the importance of failures in life but prompt a countrywide stir nevertheless, more among the ambitious parents than among the wannabe contestants. And so, over enthusiastic moms and dads are seen — some donning their best outfits — actively zipping in and out of recording studious to make all-out efforts to relive their own unfulfilled desires through their adolescent children. For any filmmaker, there’s nothing wrong with picking a subject that many of us identify with, but to indulge and weave a story around it would require far more substance to make 137 minutes of viewing plausible.
And so to drive a message and push it down our throats, the Suman Ganguli scripted-directed film Blue Mountains stuffs and highlights the importance of parenting values, family relationships, friendships, and how it’s not just the families but other close friends and teachers too who play an equally significant role in shaping a person’s life and thus, his or her future. The film was rotting in the cans for over two years, and we now know, why? It’s not strange that the film feels so uninspired: despite the director’s best intentions, it doesn’t seem like a concept intended to resonate, particularly with children; it merely feels like a show without a theme. Right at the start, the premise of the story is rubbed in rather facetiously. Som, a hill-town boy, accidentally gets selected in a singing reality TV show. His mother, Vani (Gracy Singh), who was a well-known singer earlier, dreams of living her own incomplete desire of making it big through Som, who is pushed into participating in what seems to be the country’s biggest show on television. It’s not just Som or his mother who dream big: all in his sleepy hamlet start visualising Som’s conquest for stardom.
In the midst of all this excitement, Som’s father Om (Ranvir Shorey) is mighty displeased with his son’s ambition to become a singer, and emphasises the need of education. But Som turns into a dreamer by now, and pipedreams of becoming the show’s winner and eventually landing in Mumbai to start life as a playback singer. When during one of the last rounds on the show, his voice cracks and he is not able to give the show his best, he is dropped and returns to his hometown. He sinks in the abyss of lowest self-esteem. And no amount of cajoling or comfort can offer him any solace. Does he get to realise his fantasies? Does he win the contest? Had the film Blue Mountains meant for all those who have not made it to the final of any “talent hunt contest” and focused on “how to deal with failure”, it would still make some sense. Instead, it hinges on the abstract vision of changing colours of the blue mountains through the changing seasons, and attempts to explore changing human emotions. Midway through, while the plot is limping dejectedly through its motions, you may find yourself wondering what exactly is happening. The concept of the movie seems to go haywire even as the film is girded with a decent array of good actors. The only time, the narrative gathers some semblance of much-needed momentum features one or two hummable numbers. Despite having a topical storyline, here’s a movie that never even once looks like it hails from a real place. Shorey looks unsure of his role, and Singh never even once displays any of her debut film Lagaan’s spark. The rest of the cast is amateurish and are made to mouth high sounding, pretentious dialogues that irritate no end.
The writer is a film critic and has been reviewing films for over 15 years. He also writes on music, art and culture, and other human interest stories.