332 – MUMBAI TO INDIA is about the North Indian versus Mumbaikars issue. The story begins when Rahul Raj hijacks Bus No. 332, which plies between Andheri and Kurla. The film peeps into the lives of several characters and the problems they encounter during that day. These include a young writer from U.P., an auto rickshaw driver, a couple and three students. Exactly a month after this incident, the terrorist attack on Taj [26/11] occurs. Mumbaikars decide to hold a candle march to Taj. These characters also take part in it and realize that their fight, solely because they belong to different states, is uncalled for and the strength lies in unity. Director Mahesh Pandey attempts to merge realism [the Rahul Raj incident] and fiction [the multiple stories, which are not connected to one another], but the outcome lacks force. From the execution point of view, the bus hijack portions are well handled, but the multiple stories don’t leave the desired impact. Let me elaborate… Director Mahesh Pandey has handled the core incident deftly. The interview to a news channel is hair-raising and comes across as shockingly real. But I am told that the names mentioned in this interview have been beeped/muted, which would dilute the impact for sure. But Mahesh falters in weaving the multiple stories in one thread. Also, at places, one feels that the director tilts towards the North Indians, which should’ve been avoided. He ought to know that in a film that talks of a true incident, the storyteller shouldn’t take sides. In fact, the perspective of the Maharashtrians should’ve been highlighted as well. The film has a host of characters, but the ones that portray their parts most convincingly are Vijay Mishra [who enacts the role of a rebellious North Indian student], Mayank Sharma [acts as a writer in the TV industry] and the actor who enacts the role of Rahul Raj. Sharbani Mukerji, Chetan Pandit and Ali Asgar are alright.
On the whole, 332 – MUMBAI TO INDIA attempts to raise several pertinent questions, but the impact is amiss.