Nawazuddin Sidiqqui plays the character of Ayyan Mani, the anti-hero of Serious Men, who has a salaried job as a Personal Assistant (PA) at the prestigious National Institute of Fundamental Research. He lives with his wife Oja (Indira Tiwari) and son Adi (Akshat Das) in a dark one-room tenement situated in a Mumbai chawl. The 1 hour 54 minute Netflix film is based on the 2010 released book written by Manu Joseph of the similar title, which solely focuses on dark comedy. The movie stars Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Nasser, Akshat Das, Indira Tiwari, Sanjay Narvekar, and Shweta Basu Prasad. Serious Men directed by veteran filmmaker Sudhir Mishra takes a subtle digest into many wrong doings in the society.
The amusing plot of Serious Men features the struggles of Nawazuddin Sidiqqui as Ayyan Mani, who deep down carries the baggage of being troubled by his 'under-privileged' status, since his childhood. Desperate to head out from the sort of life people like him are supposed to live, the second generation middle class man, hoping to one day live a life like the ‘serious men’ of the upper class society, pins down his hopes and dreams on his son Adi, since his birth. He uses the unique idea of using his son to achieve the better life he has dreamed of for years.
Nawazuddin, who is set to get a better life and future hatches a seemingly infallible plan to project his son as an ultimate genius,in the thought that he will be set for life with the success Adi earns. The plot thickens as a politician, the head of the research institute, get involved in this crazy screenplay, and eventually, one thing leads to another. The story of Ayyan is funny and poignant in equal parts as his very own plans starts to fall apart in the due course of time, which in the process affects the life of his own son. When Ayyan tries to protect the secret between his son and him, the cat and mouse game between the various characters in the plot makes a crazy ride for the viewer.
Siddiqui as Ayyan Mani does everything, every jugaad, tells every possible lie to keep his secret plan made with his son going on, in this faith that one day, his life will be better. The character of Ayyan Mani is a very intelligent, scheming yet a likeable one, so much so that despite being aware of his wrong doings, one ends up rooting for his son and his success and victory.
In Serious Men, Nawazuddin Siddiqui aces it once again with his stellar performance as Ayyan Mani, a Dalit Tamil migrant, who works as a PA under a high-handed, self-absorbed Brahmin astrophysicist, Arvind Acharya (Nassar), one of the serious men of the film. Little Aakshath Das plays the role of Ayyan Mani's son and he is the star! Speaking of Akshat’s acting skills, very rarely does one notice another actor in the same frame as Nawazuddin, but this little boy shines like a total star.
The Netflix film Serious Men is set in a the BDD chawl, in Mumbai and is shot across real locations which adds more credence to the story. The Sudhir Mishra movie is nothing over the top and gives the viewer a glimpse of the life of the protagonist, the dark, dank home that he shares with his wife and ten-year-old son which is very much a cage to him. Serious Men has some hilarious moments and there’s surely nothing filmy about this film. It also digs at caste issues which are portrayed in a palatable manner, sending out the message.
The Netflix film Serious Men gets 3 out of 5 stars on our meter! It is engaging through and through and surely a movie made for all men and women, serious and otherwise. The learning one can take away from Serious Men is, "Genius log chup Nahin Rehte..."
Image Source: Netflix
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