Tuesday, August 29, 2006
The Hangman in English and Hindi, with Om Puri as Shiva in the lead role, is about the life and tribulations of a professional and hereditary hangman, a man with principles, who wants to retire, but is not permitted by the government, because they do not have a replacement. His wife, Parvati, underplayed to perfection by Smita Jaykar, detests this job, which renders him a social pariah in the village.
Their one ambition in life is for a better life for their only son, Ganesh (Shreyas Talpade). Shiva seeks help from his friend, the jail warden (Gulshan Grover), who agrees to help Ganesh fulfil his ambition that his son should not become a hangman, but should become a police officer.
After completing his SSLC, Ganesh is taken to the city, where the warden is his guardian. Ganesh joins college to pursue his father's dream, and even becomes a teacher in the jail to become financially self-sufficient. But the temptations of the city, coupled with the temptations offered by the warden's nubile daughter, are too many and too attractive to resist. A concatenation of unfortunate events result in an unthinkable tragedy.
Tom Alter plays the Catholic priest, Principal of Ganesh's village school, a noble soul who counsels Shiva from time to time. Another fantastic performance by Tom.
Shreyas Talpade, the hero of Iqbal plays the role of a simple hot-headed village boy to perfection; we hardly feel that he is acting. Incidentally, this movie was shot before Iqbal, but is being released late.
Om Puri - what can one say about this perfectionist, this cerebral actor whose motto is "Never say dye"? He plays the brooding Shiva, performing his duty of professional hangman, aiming for the perfection of making the death as painless as possible, having ambitions for his son, pondering on the curses that the hanged persons throw at him, wondering how he will finally have to pay for his sins of killing others, Om Saab is already an institution by himself, but had this been his first film, he would have been known as "Hangman" Om Puri in future, such is his rivetting performance. There is no doubt that this movie will garner many, many awards nationally and internationally.
The background score and songs are also well melded with the plot, evocative and sad. So get ready for a date with the noose of The Hangman, soon coming at a multiplex near you!
Cast: Om Puri, Gulshan Grover, Shreyas Talpade,
Smita Jaykar, Nazneen Ghani, Amrita Bedi, Anita Kanwar, Tom Alter
and Yatin Karvekar
Director: Vishal Bhandari
Producer: Bipin Patel
Music: Siddharth, Suhas, Chandresh