At a time when the horrific Hathras rape incident has once again brought to fore the caste inequalities in the country, Serious Men is a comic yet powerful statement on India's caste discrimination and upper class privilege.
The Netflix movie, based on Manu Joseph's novel by the same name takes you through the stark contrast in the lives of two main characters Ayyan Mani (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) and Aravind Acharya (Nassar).
Director Sudhir Mishra does justice to the brilliant plot and tops it up with a brilliant casting. Siddique smartly mixes silence and hurried movements to portray his craving to derive more from life.
While Nassar's acting prowess is known to all, it was child actor Akshath Das' who surprised us with his performance. Akshath manages to excel in his character, juxtaposed between a genius and a slow learner, without losing his childhood innocence.
Referring to the movie, Nawazuddin Siddiqui himself said in an interview that it is a “reflection of all things Indian.”
Mani, an ambitious Tamil Dalit, aspires to be like his Brahmin boss Acharya. He wants to be like the 'serious men' he works for at a space research institute. He challenges the system in his own deceitful ways to ensure his son does not become an underachiever like him.
The film pans out from Mani's point of view and he is not shy to speak about the inequalities faced by generations of his family.
Though the movie is about Mani and his son, from beginning to end we are told about what happened to Mani's forefathers – without failing to connect with a sense of the present.
The plot is not that of a hero and villain, it is much closer to reality. Mani's methods to improve his family's life is not idealistic.
The film also dwells on the tendency of parents to go seek fame through the achievements of their kids while thrusting their own dreams on the young ones, in the process acting as a hazard to let the children bloom.
Short verdict: A must watch