The film is a heart-rending narration of a real-life account of Gandhian 'Gour Hari Das', a silent warrior, who relentlessly waded through endless obstacles, raised by India's corrupt and inefficient system for 30 years, to prove his identity as a freedom fighter.
'Courage does not always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, I will try again tomorrow'. And the film's protagonist Gour Hari Das (Vinay Pathak, commendable) embodies this spirit.
Filmmaker Ananth Mahadevan brings to life an extraordinary tale (yet again after making Mee Sindhutai Sapkal) of a man's determination and uncompromising pursuit of truth that provokes our conscience and releases us from the shackles of rising apathy, that's spread like a pandemic. Gour Hari Dastaan not only salutes its unsung hero, but the resilience and indomitable spirit of people like him, who continue to hope, despite the adversities.
As the film shuttles between past and present, you get a glimpse of Gour Hari's early life, his tryst with the country's freedom struggle and its repercussion. Without resorting to dramatic dialogues, it manages to mock the system in the most understated manner.
Gour Hari, as a teenager willingly ran alongside steam engine trains to deliver secret messages to fellow revolutionaries for the freedom of his country. Sadly, he was forced to run from pillar to post as an old man, chasing government officials for a document (tamrapatra) that acknowledged his work. This incredible story of hope and despair inspires an otherwise dejected tabloid journalist (Ranvir Shorey, effective), who joins his battle.
A talented ensemble cast lends authenticity to the proceedings. Konkona Sen Sharma as Gour Hari's supportive wife, Vikram Gokhale as the practical Chief Minister and Siddharth Jadhav, who suggests that bribing the British would have freed us sooner, are brilliant.
However, it's Vinay Pathak who gets one of the most significant roles of his career. While an actor like Anupam Kher would have been apt, Pathak gives it his all. He rightly portrays the honesty and silent defiance of his character, especially in the crucial last scene.
While the film does struggle with a slow pace and certain irrelevant characters and scenes that digress from the core subject, this biopic deserves to be seen.