With the 2019 Lok Sabha elections kicking off today, Soumitra Ranade’s Albert Pinto Ko Gussa Kyun Aata Hai?, a remake of the Saeed Mirza classic, shows the angst of a man frustrated with an uncaring government and a ruthless society. The movie has an impressive cast that includes Manav Kaul, Nandita Das and Saurabh Shukla.
The 1980 Saeed Mirza film set in Mumbai, where Naseeruddin Shah played the title role, shows a mill worker’s son finally realising it’s a capitalist society that must be blamed for workers’ plight and not trade union protests.
In Ranade’s film, Pinto, played by Manav Kaul, is a well-to-do private sector employee and the son of a bureaucrat who has been named in a scam.
At the beginning of the film, we are told that Pinto is missing. The film’s narrative is woven in a way that the viewer feels s/he is in the middle of a puzzle with the pieces being revealed one by one – an incredible feat given the film has three plotlines running in the same time frame.
The first has Pinto’s girlfriend Stella (Nandita Das) and his family members asking a police inspector (Kishore Kadam) about the progress in the investigation into Pinto’s disappearance.
The second is about Pinto having flashbacks of events that have made him an ‘angry’ man. The third shows Pinto travelling with Nayyar (Saurabh Shukla) on his first assignment as an assassin.
As the film progresses, all these stories start merging.
Kaul is competent as Pinto. His Pinto is not someone who has outbursts of anger, which Shah’s Pinto had. Here, Pinto broods and simmers while looking at the sorry state of society. We hardly see him raising his voice, but he is cynical and disillusioned to a point where he sees nothing good in the world around him.
Shukla’s Nayyar as Pinto’s fellow assassin is an absolute pleasure to watch. He brings in an element of humour as well as a sense of foreboding, something we have seen him excel at in Ramgopal Verma’s Satya (1998).
Ranade’s film bears an uncanny resemblance to Martin Scorsese’s cult classic Taxi Driver (1976). Both show a working-class hero who is frustrated but wants to save the world in their own twisted ways.
In one particular scene, Pinto pretends to shoot a schoolboy with an unloaded gun he’s just been handed, reminding us of Robert De Niro’s famous ‘you talking to me?’ scene from Taxi Driver.
Rahul De’s cinematography captures Pinto’s state of mind. The film, however, needed better direction from Ranade. An actor of Manav Kaul’s calibre is under-utilised. There are several loose ends in the movie. The music stands out for keeping pace with the narrative.
Albert Pinto Ko Gussa Kyun Aata Hai? is essentially a commentary on the fence-sitting middle class. Pinto channelises the anger of a society where electricity is yet to reach villages but alcohol, flesh trade and cigarettes are a reality.
The film eventually tells us that everyone in this country is begging, no matter which class they belong to.