NYIFF 2017 Film Review “Poorna”



First, the Recap:

“I am capable of the impossible”. Life never promises the path will be easy. For some, it is nothing to simply accept everything around them for what it is, making no strides to better themselves or to entertain the possibility of greater things. Then there are some who refuse to be waylaid, put down by circumstances, but instead choose to rise above it. For a young girl named Poorna (Aditi Inamdar), heralding from a poor family in Telangana, dreams big. Watching as her best friend, older cousin Priya (S. Mariya), get reluctantly married off and head into an arranged existence, Poorna longs for greater opportunity despite her young age. Soon attending a new school, the ember of new goals begins to be rekindled.

Thanks to the efforts and unexpected bond with former IPS officer turned Secretary of Social Welfare, Dr. R.S. Praveen Kumar (Rahul Bose), a man driven by the need to enact change for the well-being of the region’s children, Poorna finds she has natural rock-climbing skills that, under the teachings of expert trainer Shekhar Babu (Gyanendra Tripathi), ultimately lead her and fellow climbing student Anand (Manoj Kumar) to an offer they cannot refuse–the chance to take their honed skills to the greatest mountaineering challenge on Earth, Mt. Everest. However, even as they prepare to go, a personal loss almost derails Poorna’s will to take on the task, until a timely encouragement pushes her forward to achieve a marvelous goal most would consider unwinnable for her.

Next, my Mind:

Despite the hate and violence in this modern world, much less what is portrayed thematically in countless films, there still so often is nothing more necessary than the uplifting inspiration that real life can bring, and director/actor Rahul Bose’s independent feature effort is a prime example of this notion and then some. A profound image of how one single choice can affect, influence, transform, sway opinion, change how we view what is possible, and aid in making people realize the power of belief, it’s likewise showcased that underestimation is such a potentially crippling element if opportunity is not provided. The narrative’s impact is additionally enhanced in illustrating how life-altering it can be when someone is willing to support you unconditionally, so much that it ends up transfiguring your own, and this is certainly the dynamic between Kumar and Poorna. Gorgeous cinematography highlights the impoverished conditions of Poorna’s home village and school to the absolutely pristine beauty and majesty of Mt. Everest with masterful and effective meaning here as well.

Bose excels wonderfully as Kumar, a man driven by a desire to see the metamorphic properties of a revitalized educational system radically enhance the lives of the children he becomes involved with, especially Poorna when he realizes the deep-seeded tenacity and dedication she has to reach for her aspirations. His willingness to fight for her and others is palpable and unwavering, even in the face of the higher-ups he reports to, and this dogged determination is well performed by Bose. Inamdar’s exceptional rendering of Poorna is one that a viewer cannot help but be drawn into from beginning to end, depicting a young girl who watches as everything around her would seem to dictate a future holding the same arranged conditions as her beloved cousin, with no hope for aspiring to anything beyond. Even with her family attempting to see such preparations come about, Poorna’s steadfast willfulness propels her beyond it, and not only proves to herself she can be something more, but that her actions and accomplishment will have far-reaching ramifications for the benefit of many.

Excellent supporting turns are given from Tripathi as the climbing instructor who so finely tunes and nurtures Poorna and Anand as they strive towards their achievement, Kumar as Poorna’s close friend and climbing partner Anand who shares in the victorious summit ascent, Mariya as Poorna’s cousin Priya, whose belief in and tender but firm encouragement towards Poorna becomes a key catalyst, along with Dr. Rayala Harischandra, Heeba Shah, Harsha Vardhan, and Arif Zakaria among others. In total, “Poorna” is again a very timely, essential, indispensable piece of independent cinema as it carries so many concepts and inspirations that are sorely missed in a world where it seems so much focus is just on ourselves. This is a story that indicates how one, or several, acts of kindness can truly touch and transmute lives for the betterment of not just us or our village, state, and/or nation, but ideally the world.

As always, this is all for your consideration and comment.  Until next time, thank you for reading!




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