Poorna Movie Review
Cast: Aditi Inamdar, S. Mariya, Rahul Bose, Dhritiman Chatterjee, Heeba Shah, Gyanendra Tripathi, Arif Zakaria
Direction: Rahul Bose
Duration: 1 hour 40 minutes
The film Poorna is based on the real life story of Poorna Malavath, the youngest girl at 13 years of age to summit the highest, most iconic peak of Mount Everest in 2014. Poorna went on to prove the quote about mountains, which says, “It’s always further than it looks. It’s always taller than it looks. And it’s always harder than it looks.”
This inspirational movie is sure to raise goose bumps not only because it portrays a real-life story, but also because the extraordinary feat was successfully completed by a dirt-poor Adivasi girl from a backward class, belonging to a tribe in Telangana—where the only life that girls know once they attain puberty is that of getting married, as a mere transaction between two families. Poorna defied this age-old tradition of being treated like a commodity and went on to successfully scale the highest peak in the world.
The film revolves round the real-life story of Poorna. It goes on to show how abject poverty and deep-seated patriarchy impact the ‘girl child’, and how the intervention of the right person at the right time and place can break through the status-quo welfare schemes of the state—which, otherwise, are only meant for paper.
Poorna sets out on a path not trodden and with the help of a coach (Gyanendra Tripathi) and an official, who wants to change lives, manages to achieve something daunting. The movie stays away from the pitfalls of being too patronising and incorporating a false sense of importance in the protagonist. Rahul Bose in his second directorial venture beautifully portrays the real-life story without weaving in too much sentimentality and goes on to show that sometimes fairy tales come true too.
Writers Prashant Pandey and Shreya Dev Verma indeed had a monumental challenge on their hands to make the movie nail-biting in the absence of the element of surprise, as the outcome is already known to the viewers. They add compelling elements to the protagonist’s character, which are sure to win the hearts of the viewers. The ebb and flow of the narrative is sure to keep the viewers engrossed in the short film.
Aditi Inamdar plays the role of Poorna with exceptional ease, innocence and naiveté. Rahul Bose as a director has managed to bring out the best in her and she is sure to touch the emotional chords of the viewers along with S. Mariya, a newcomer, who plays the role of her cousin. Aditi’s strongest and most compelling scenes are alongside Rahul Bose, who is Dr. R S Praveen Kumar in the movie, and a mentor and facilitator to Poorna.
Rahul Bose is extremely comfortable even in front of the camera and his understated performance adds to the movie an essence of originality.
Dhritiman Chatterjee, Heeba Shah and Gyanendra Tripathi in their roles as supporting actors lend the movie ample gravitas. Performances by all the actors can be best described as grounded, and the film with a straightforward tale is depicted in such a simplistic manner that it acts as the very strength of the entire film.
Music by Salim–Sulaiman is refreshing and catchy, while complimenting the story and the best tune is the triumphal swelling music for the climax, when Poorna makes her ascent.
The film has a few negatives, which include the odd choice of interspersing Telugu with Hindi and English dialogues, minus the subtitles. Also, the transition of Poorna from being trained to reaching the Everest base Camp seems to be a little hurried.
However, all in all, this movie is an absolute must-see not only for the young women in India, but for every individual struggling with life, for it sends out a clear message that says, “Try! Try! Try! And you will succeed.”
Rating: 3 stars (***)