Gour Hari Dastaan – The Freedom File: Film Review – Simple, offbeat and relevant

How much can you do for your country, before it begins to consume you? Gour Hari Dastaan sets out to answer that very question.

Vinay Pathak plays Gour Hari Das, a man who has spent the better part of his life trying to procure his freedom fighter’s certificate. Though he did contribute to India’s quest for freedom, Das finds himself in a tight spot when he realizes that he doesn’t have the paperwork to prove it. When everyone, including his own son, starts doubting the authenticity of his story, Das starts compiling his “Freedom File” – a collection of all the documents that can help prove his point. However, the quest for the certificate proves to be more difficult than the fight for freedom itself. Fortunately, he has two well-meaning journalists, Rajiv (Ranvir Shorey) and Anita (Tannishtha Chatterjee), by his side.

Gour Hari Dastaan starts off on a strong note. The film chronicles 30 long years in Das’s life. Years that he spent chasing his own ghost, and years that took a toll on him – both mentally and physically. Through his story, we are given a closer look at the red-tapism, corruption and the inequality that still prevails in our society. It is especially heartbreaking when our protagonist must face the realization that the country he fought for isn’t as perfect as he would’ve liked to believe.

Vinay Pathak‘s portrayal of Das is nothing short of brilliant. He brings the right amounts of seriousness and lightheartedness to the character, making the viewer root for him. His rapport with Ranvir Shorey also shines through in their characters, enhancing both their performances. Konkona Sen Sharma, too, does a good job as Das’s supportive wife. Rajit Kapur and Vikram Gokhale make lasting impressions, despite their lack of screen time.

The film explores some very relevant topics, and it does this well. However, the impact of a strong beginning and climax is dulled by the middle portion, which gets too dramatic at times. This keeps the film from ever being truly hard-hitting or as impactful as it could’ve been.

However, the cinematography and music are definitely worth noting. Just like the lead character, these elements of the film are simple. And that’s exactly where their strength lies. While the background score elevates the viewing experience, it never overpowers the scene or the plot. Similarly, the cinematography is unpretentious and downright stunning.

All things considered, Gour Hari Dastaan might not be your run-of-the-mill festive weekend entertainer, but it might be the best film to bring out the patriot in you.

Why should you watch this film?
If you’re looking to enjoy a simple, offbeat and relevant film this Independence Day, Gour Hari Dastaan is your best bet. The film will make you think, while also treating you to some admirable performances. And that’s always a good thing.

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