Bad filmmaking can be forgiven, it can happen. But the obvious digs at Indian Muslims, stereotyping them as folks who love Pakistan more or romanticising the terrorist group ISIS, are too intentional to be brushed aside.

Suresh Gopi, with salt and pepper hair and moustache looks shocked, wearing a white shirt and holding a newspaper
Flix Review Friday, September 30, 2022 - 19:07
Save your money

An army man who was thought to have died in the Kargil war returns home to Kerala 19 years later, but few believe him or want to have anything to do with him. There are just so many different ways this story of Moosa could have been told. But Jibu Jacob’s movie Mei Hoom Moosa does so in the worst possible way. The film does not only suffer from really horrible filmmaking, but is very obviously designed with an agenda to paint Muslims in poor light by showcasing the ‘one good Muslim’ who fought for the country, making him spout lines like ‘I’m not a Muslim who seeks heaven by killing others, but a Muslim who is ready to die for India’.

Actor and BJP politician Suresh Gopi plays Moosa. A short intro about his character is given in the beginning of the movie when Hareesh Kanaran, playing his friend from the old days, narrates stories about Moosa’s bravado. Even in those few minutes, the storytelling makes it clear that this is not going to be an easy watch. Standards, if any, only fall further and further with every passing scene. When Suresh Gopi finally appears on the screen, the drama worsens. Then begin the many, many sad attempts at comedy that make you weep (tears of self-pity), the atrocious writing making even wonderful performers like Srindaa and Saiju Kurup look weak.

Moosa says he spent 19 years in a prison in Pakistan, without being able to communicate with anyone, before he was freed. No one in the family – his siblings (Saiju, Srindaa) or even his tearful wife (Poonam Bajwa) – welcomes him back. Despite the changed and embarrassing conditions (his brother having married his wife), it is surprising that a man who was once so loved does not even get a hug. Even the people of the village – somewhere in Kozhikode – who had been organising memorial days for him, don’t show a shred of sympathy for Moosa. He is basically ignored by all. In a hurry to put Moosa on a pedestal, scriptwriter Rubesh Rain seems to have forgotten to incorporate normal reactions.

Watch: Teaser of the film

Bad filmmaking can be forgiven, it can happen. But the obvious digs at Indian Muslims, stereotyping them as folks who love Pakistan more or romanticising the terrorist group ISIS, are too intentional to be brushed aside. It is everywhere in the script. When Moosa opens a newspaper, the camera zooms in on a news report about Malayalis joining the ISIS. When he visits the local mosque, the priest asks him interestedly about ISIS like it is a tourist attraction. And the maker’s intentions become further questionable when the next time a newspaper is seen, you are shown the headline about the RSS embracing the uniform civil code.

Like a package ticking every item in the not-to-do list, the film also contains a ‘rape’ joke. Moosa, to prove his identity, has to somehow get himself involved in a case, a lawyer (Salim Kumar) tells him. He can choose his crime, the lawyer remarks, and Moosa’s friend promptly says, “let it be rape”.

The script also has really crass jokes about the Tamil language when a young Tamil woman (Ashwini Reddy) shows up, asking Moosa questions about her father, another army man who has been missing for years. For reasons unknown, Moosa refuses to share any information and also treats her like a pest, despite making speeches about the greatness of soldiers every chance he gets.

It is surprising that Jibu Jacob, who made a sensible political film like Vellimoonga, would helm a script with so many problems.

Disclaimer: This review was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the series/film. TNM Editorial is independent of any business relationship the organisation may have with producers or any other members of its cast or crew.

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