Director: Rahul Bose
Writer: Prashant Pandey, Shreya Dev Verma
Stars: Rahul Bose, Dhritiman Chatterjee, Dr. Rayala Harischandra, Aditi Inamdar
Runtime: 100 min
Released: 31 Mar 2017
Storyline: An Adivasi 13-year-old from Telangana becomes the youngest girl in history to climb Mount Everest.
Everyone loves the story of an unfortunate and ill-equipped underdog who conquers their fears, realizes their true potential and goes on to overcome a towering challenge. ‘Poorna’ embodies this narrative in a very literal sense. In the absence of the element of surprise (the outcome is clearly advertised in the film’s poster and trailer), the challenge is no less monumental for writers Prashant Pandey and Shreya Dev Verma.
Tasked with weaving the tale of Poorna’s journey, they add compelling elements to the protagonist’s character which Aditi Inamdar plays with innocence and naivete. Under Bose’s direction, she hits most of the significant emotional beats with fellow newcomer S. Mariya who plays her cousin Priya, though Inamdar’s strongest scenes are alongside Bose himself. His understated performance as the mentor and facilitator Dr. R S Praveen Kumar is anchored by supporting actors Dhritiman Chatterjee, Heeba Shah and Gyanendra Tripathi who lend the film with ample gravitas.
Bose is as comfortable in front of the camera as he is behind it, allowing for an ebb and flow to the narrative that keeps you totally engrossed during its taut runtime. As an additional component, the tracks by Salim – Sulaiman are refreshing and catchy while complimenting the story. However, the odd choice to use Telugu interspersed with Hindi and English dialogues in the absence of subtitles is a minor grouch; one that doesn’t detract from the film’s overall impact, but could have probably lent to a far more realistic and seamless viewing experience.
Returning to a directorial capacity after 16 years, Rahul Bose recognizes the beauty in simplicity and uses it to the film’s advantage. Grounded performances combined with stirring music elevate this relatively straightforward tale, making it essential viewing not only for the young Indian woman, but for anyone looking to scale great heights against all odds.