By Murtaza Ali Khan
Featured in IMDb Critic Reviews
It is often said that winning or losing doesn’t matter as long as you are participating in a sporting manner. Try telling that to a 13 year old tribal girl on a quest to conquer Mount Everest. Rahul Bose’s latest film Poorna is a story based on the life of a tribal girl from Telangana named Poorna Malavath who shook everybody by scaling the world’s highest mountain peak at the age 13 years and 11 months, becoming the youngest girl to do so in the process. Rahul Bose’s second directorial venture after a hiatus of 16 years (the first being the 2001 film Everybody Says I'm Fine!), Poorna stars Aditi Inamdar in the titular role. Produced by Rahul Bose Productions, Raay Media Pvt Ltd and co-produced by Amit Patni, Poorna costars Arif Zakaria, Dhritiman Chatterjee, and Bose himself.
Poorna is far from being a run of the mill biopic. It is nothing short of a meditation of sorts on the indomitable spirit that can make a human being achieve the unthinkable. A special screening of Poorna was recently organized for President Pranab Mukherjee at the Rashtrapati Bhawan. According to reports the President was deeply touched by the movie and for full of praise for the movie as well as the remarkable feat of the movie’s protagonist. In the realm of fiction, a story like Poorna’s would fall somewhere between fantasy and magic realism but Poorna’s story is as real as any story can be. Here is a real girl in flesh and blood who overcomes all odds and achieves the nigh impossible. In the words of Rahul Bose himself, “It is a great story that deserves to be told. Poorna is the most inspiring biopic I have read in my life.”
The journey of Poorna is a story of hope, self-belief and survival not just for the tribal people but the humanity at large. It is heartening to see a famous name like Rahul Bose get associated with a project like this which has conventionally been associated with documentary films. Hopefully, it will inspire other Indian filmmakers to make commercial films on serious subjects of national importance. Perhaps, Poorna’s biggest USP is that it succeeds in highlighting sensitive issues like gender inequality, caste system and the social divide without appearing preachy.
Beautifully shot, Poorna takes us on an exotic adventure from Telengana to Darjeeling to Sikkim to Nepal, all the way to the top of Mount Everest. But the journey works well at an intellectual level as well. The film may remind some of Akira Kurosawa’s Oscar-winning film Dersu Uzala (1975). The acting is solid all around. Rahul Bose here again leads from the front. In fact, his presence also seems to have had a calming influence on the young actress essaying the part of Poorna. While the cinematography by Subhransu is quite easily one of the movie’s biggest strengths, it is Salim–Sulaiman’s evocative music that gives the movie its soul. Barring minor flaws, Poorna has all the makings of a film that’s both entertaining and thought-provoking. Now it remains to be seen how well the audience receives it.
Poorna Trailer (YouTube)
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