It is 1971--Bombay, India, and the country is on the verge of war. Gustad Noble finds his modest life unraveling when he agrees to do a clandestine favor for an old friend. Based on the prize-winning novel by Robinton Mist... more »ry, from a screenplay by Sooni Taraporevala (Mississippi Masala, Salaam Bombay) and helmed by Emmy Award-winning director Sturla Gunnarsson, "Such a Long Journey" is both a tragic drama and a wryly humorous meditation on enduring hope and the strength of faith.« less
"it's easier to tell what the movie is not about-the war in bangladesha, it's only the background timing, being a parsee, although there are scenes around the tower of silence complete with sounds of vultures inside.
it is about a quiet parsee bank teller and in the background his wife. Friends die, son leaves home, he's pulled into a dangerous plot, done with great technic and attention to detail and character development. thanks for a window into bombay.
i am sorry that movies like this never seem to get a showing in America, maybe it is that we really are too shallow for thoughtful and sensitive films like this. we desire action, not thought, we desire clear cut issues, not the gentle how do i live each day authentically and true to my convictions that you see in this movie.
i like the painted wall. the images and the devotion they showed them will long remain in my memory, fondly.richard williams"
One of my most valuable "finds" this year
Shashank Tripathi | Gadabout | 05/17/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"You hear about such movies only as a matter of happenstance because they are commonly shrugged off as "art cinema" amidst India's glam-bam Bollywood cacophony. To anyone even mildly familiar with the dark underbelly of meaningful cinema in India, the star cast is enough to grab a copy of this priceless DVD -- Roshan Seth, Soni Razdan, Om Puri. But that's not half the reason I recommend this movie whole-heartedly. Gunnarsson (an Icelander!) and Taraporewala seem to have done an immaculate job of adapting Mistry's touching eponymous novel to the screen. This is a simple yet subtle story of a middle-aged Parsi bank employee in Bombay in the 70s and the various facets of his interactions with his immediate family, friends/neighbours, professional circle etc, sensitively exploring how these bear upon his life. Despite the period in question, I can assure you that this movie beautifully captures the typical middle-class Bombay life as it is now, in particular the nuances of a minority (Parsi) man. Yet it manages to offer a heart-warming view of our modern condition in almost any urban setting, not just Bombay. And thankfully the characterizations do not pander to a global stereotype of the Indian middle class as normally seen in the movies of Monsoon Wedding genre for instance. All I can say is that if you are genuinely interested in meaningful film, you won't regret watching this hidden marvel of movie making. Highly recommended."
"What a world of wickedness it has become."
Mary Whipple | New England | 05/22/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Director Sturla Gunnarsson turns a good novel by Rohinton Mistry, into an extraordinary film, capturing the warmth of family life in a crowded apartment house in Bombay, along with its sights, sounds, and smells. Main character Gustad Noble (Roshan Seth) is a devoted father and husband, a believer in the ceremonies of his Parsi religion, a conscientious worker as a bank supervisor, and a friend who believes in loyalty to those who have helped him.
Gustad and his wife Dilnavaz are trying to lead good lives during the political and social turmoil of Indira Gandhi's rule in the 1970s. India is on the verge of war with the Muslims of Pakistan, and though Gustad is aware of political corruption, he is far more pre-occupied with having his son accepted at a school of technology, doing his job as a bank supervisor, and supporting his family. Constant blackouts and continually deteriorating conditions on the street add to the frustrations of Gustad's life. When an old friend, asks Gustad for help on behalf of the Indian government, Gustad reluctantly agrees to deposit money to a secret account at the bank. He soon finds himself enmeshed in a spiral from which he cannot break out.
Seth is a fine Gustad, showing with a raised eyebrow or a casual glance a range of emotions which makes Gustad come alive. Rasdan, as his wife, is both loving and frustrated, fearful of what Gustad may have committed himself to, and worried about her son, who does not want to got to a technical college, and their small daughter, who is extremely ill. Little Shazneed Damania, as the sick child, is extraordinary, and when she has tremors and convulsions as a result of her fever, she wrings the heart of the audience.
The wall outside Gustad's apartment building, symbolizing the larger world of Bombay, is a far more dramatic and significant element in the film than in the novel. When Gustad persuades a sidewalk artist to paint the wall so that it will no longer be used as a latrine, the artist (Ranjit Chowdhry) depicts scenes from all the religions of India. The wall becomes a shrine--until the government decides to tear it down, paralleling in some ways the life of Gustad..
Though major scenes are depicted in intimate interior settings, effectively photographed (Jan Kiesser) to show visually the characters' relationships, the panoramic outdoor shots of the roiling life of Bombay dramatically intensify the turmoil within Gustad's life. Sensitively acted and directed, with a screenplay written by the book's author, the film is the visual embodiment of everything Mistry achieves in the novel. Outstanding! Mary Whipple "
Hard choices against the backdrop of 1971 Bombay
Linda Linguvic | New York City | 06/06/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This 1998 Indian film is based on a novel by Rohinton Mistry. It's set in 1971 in Bombay, at a time just before the Bangladesh war. Roshan Seth is cast as a bank clerk who lives with his wife and three children in a crowded apartment complex. He once came from a wealthy family, but all that has changed and life is a struggle. His oldest son is refusing to go to technology school and wants to be an artist, he and he wife are always bickering, and his little daughter gets sick with Malaria. There's also a mentally challenged young man who creates turmoil and an old woman who is some sort of a witch. To add to his troubles, the government wants to knock down a wall in front of his building in order to widen the road and thereby create even more pollution.When he receives a letter from an old friend who asks for his help, he quickly says yes, even though he has to agree to receive a mysterious package. There are politics involved which I didn't understand but it didn't matter who the bad guys were because the focus was more on the personal choices made by the people.The best part of the film was its setting. It brought me right into the city of Bombay with its overcrowding, its filth, its sounds and its people. I could almost smell the air and feel the grit on my skin. Life is difficult there, but the city was just a backdrop for the story, which I found slow but mildly interesting. The acting was so good however, that it made up for the some of the plot's shortfalls. I enjoyed the film. And recommend it."
A very enjoyable film
Linda Linguvic | 07/27/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I had enjoyed the book and was very hesitant about seeing the film. But it remains faithful to the book, and the acting is excellent, down to the little girl. It is one of Roshan Seth's finest performances as the main character who gets sucked into a situation he doesn't completely understand. The story revolves around a Parsi family in Bombay around the time of the India-Pakistan war that resulted in the creation of Bangladesh. Definitely worth seeing."