A retired Marathi cop played by Manoj Bajpayee confronts xenophobia in his chwal
I IS FOR INDIA
A retired cop who is trying hard to get reinstated because his work is the only thing that gives his life meaning, Bhonsle is considered the moral center of the chwal (tenement) where he lives. However, as the chwal and Mumbai at large are being torn apart by anti-migrant sentiment instigated by Maharashtrian politicans and feuding between Marathis and Biharis, Bhonsle befriends a pair of Bihari siblings and the power relationships appear up in the air. Facing health issues and his own mortality, Bhonsle has to confront the darkness of the world on his own terms. A striking, highly stylized and measured narrative that is a pleasure to watch throughout. Manoj Bajpayee in the lead role is splendid, and the cinematography by Jigmet Wangchuk is mesmerizing. And the final, ravaging sequence filmed on an iPhone is all the more powerful in contrast. The film is slow, so not a good fit for those who are impatient, but it delivers fearlessly, unapologetically.
Director: Devashish Makhija