For a middle class person juggling between money and family, Dreams are only valid when asleep. Anyone trying to break the barrier has to overcome billions of hurdles. Adding up to obstructions, if one is lower middle class with no source of income or a girl from a conservative family, these hindrances look goliath. When she finally proves everyone wrong and takes a flight of her dreams, it is the moment she makes her journey worthwhile. Miss India directed by Narendra Nath narrates one such pursuit of a young Indian Girl who against all odds start her own business in a foreign land with no personal or professional support.
Miss India is a Telugu film released directly online due to the ongoing Pandemic. It is streaming on Netflix in Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam language with English subtitles.
Miss India starts with its protagonist’s Manasa Samyuktha (Keerthy Suresh) who has made big in life and became a prominent business woman. Through a dialogue she dedicates her success to her late grandfather and starts narrating her story back to the Indian village she was born in.
Samyuktha lives in Lambasingi, Visakhapatnam with her family that includes a brother, sister, mother, father and a grandfather she incredibly adores. She is the youngest in the family yet really bright. The film sets the theme of the film when Samyuktha’s father Naresh asks her to set a goal in life. She quickly finds it out, wishing to start her own business one day. When someone tells her, “Men do business. This is not a field for women.” she encounters saying she will do as please and become whatever she wants to be.
Samyuktha is really fond of her grandfather who is an Ayurveda doctor in the village. He left his job in the army and came back to the village to serve his people. His ideologies are deep rooted and knowledge aimed to popularize the swadeshi feeling. Samyuktha is inspired by her grandfather’s beliefs and every inch of her dialogues radiate those doctrines.
However, when 15 years later, Samyuktha’s adulthood takes a tragic turn as her father develops Alzheimer, the dreams and goals start fading away. The family has to abandon their town and the Samyuktha’s struggle continues in foreign lands, where she fights the battle to fulfill her dream of becoming a businesswoman.
Dialogues – Both Strength and Weakness of the Film
For a major chunk of the story, Miss India seems like a going back to the roots story. Viewers might await for her decision to return back to India, as most of the dialogues radiate the feeling.
“ I want to use my talents and achieve something in my life. Money can bring happiness, but when we pursue things we like, it leaves us with beautiful experiences.”
While most of these dialogues strike you hard while the on going frames, none of them really count to anything in the end, as these words don’t support the premise. Dialogues for the sake of orating and not supporting the plot, might look good for a moment but in the wider canvas, viewers might look cheated. The con weakens the overall arc of the character when revisited after the film ends. These dialogues have been dotted for more than once for various themes in the film like, sexism, independence, self exploration and rivalry. Though at the conclusion of the film, everything gets so jumbled that one fails to even understand what the film was about. It is like too many themes, spoils the plot.
At the beginning of the film, these dialogues create a lasting influence on the viewers giving some adrenaline boost. For some flicks that portray returning to roots narrative, motivational and striking dialogues work effortlessly. For a brief moment at the start, these might act as a catalyst to the story but when overdone, they start looking preachy too, which happened exactly in Miss India.
Dialogues were skillfully written for the first two acts of the story but it quickly transformed into uninteresting, repetitive “straight out of social media kinda of quotes.” It detonates the writer’s lazy approach to writing which could have been saved, if they would have invested more.
Obsession with Romance and Villains
A film like Miss India that has already put a lot of necessary plots and sub plots on the table, damaging them with unnecessary romantic songs or angles, spoils the momentum. Any popular cinema of Indian Film Industry, no matter how good they are going, purposely thrust a romantic subplot to the story for no valid reason. Love is great but it isn’t about finding it in a partner.
Miss India or many South Indian Films in fact, integrate a lot of subplots that sometimes work and sometimes takes down the rhythm of the film to irritating levels. For Miss India, it went in the wrong way, where there was no particular need for a larger than life antagonist, Kailash (Jagapathi Babu). His whole aura and performance looked comical and could have been avoided.
Miss India begins with a gripping start that grabs your attention. However, the magic quickly fades away as the film enters it’s act two. From there on it is all downhill. Audiences might wait for the story to recreate the same enchantment it promised in the premise but from my personal perspective, it didn’t even put an effort to find that lost voice. Problems in the screenplay only get bigger and bigger on screen.
The film had all the necessary ingredients and possibility to become a great gripping drama but it took the easier way. It foregrounded gimmicks and unnecessary dialogues in spite of required plot and character arc. It shouts about everything but fulfills nothing, which is tricking the viewers, in a really disheartening way. Maybe, Indian Filmmakers will soon work on the overall story rather than selling the premise to the audience. We wish to see more of the story than is promised in overstylised trailers, or we are just great at creating trailers and not features.
Miss India is streaming on Netflix.
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