Tuesday, March 5, 2024

12th Fail

 The world too often seems like a dishonest one.  Despite sayings like "Cheaters Never Prosper" cheating seems like the most certain way to get ahead.  "12th Fail" is based on a true story where one man was able to succeed honestly despite a slew of obstacles. 

It starts in a small Indian village where cheating is a way of life.  We are shown a teacher giving answers to an upcoming exam.  The police approach and are handed a large amount of money.  The police reject the bribe and take away the teacher.  He had explained that no harm was done, that his students would get some sort of menial job and life would go on.  

Manoj Sharma, the protagonist had cheated, but he felt his father's honesty had been punished.  Complaining to DSP Dushyant Singh he was listened to but the advice was simply not to cheat.  The advice was taken to heart and impacted Manoj's life.  He refined his goal to being an ISP police officer, but the odds are overwhelming.

With almost no money he kept asking questions, offering to do menial labor and above all being honest.   He is guided to the need for coaching and at first runs into a dishonest one, but he meets his future girl friend, Shraddha there.  Coaching in critical and he lands with a more honest one, but there is much hard slogging.  His coach is one who has failed in the tests, but passes on what he has learned.  Manoj fails 12 times, partly because he cannot study as much as needed.  All the time he is told to take short cuts, but he sticks to his plan.  At the end he is questioned and tells the blunt truth.  The head interviewer doubts and mocks his honesty, ut other interviewers recognize his honesty is very refreshing. 

Helping him are a few friends and above all Shraddha who comes from a higher caste.  Except for one misunderstanding she sticks with him through thick and thin.   In the end he passes and we see him as an honest police officer who upturns others being dishonest.  Based on a true story it has been uplifting for its viewers.

At the time of researching for this blog IMDB had a high rating of 9.1 from over  101,000 raters.  Pretty impressive, but the film does seem to merit an exceptional rating. Here are some of the people responsible.

Vidhu Vinod Chopra is the director and co writer and co-editor.  He has 18 credits as a writer, 18 as a producer and 12 as a director.  His credits include "Parinda" (1989), "1942: A Love Story" (1994), "Mission Kashmir" (2000), "Munna Bhai M.B.B.S." (2003)  "Eklavya" (2007), "3 Idiots" (2009) and "PK" (2014),  Check http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2015/03/pk.html

Jaskunwar Kohli is a co-writer and co-editor.  He has 6 credits with the camera and electrical department, 5 for cinematography and 5 for editor.

Shantanu Moitra provided the music.  He has 51 credits for composing and another 11 for music department.  His credits include   "Laaga Chunari Mein Daag" (2007) "3 Idiots" (2009), "Lago Rao Munna Bhai" (2006), "Inkaar" (2013), "Madras Cafe" (2013), "PK" (2014), "Pink" (2016) and "October" (2018).  Check http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2016/11/pink-sensitive-film-to-deal-with-consent.html

Rangarajan Ramabadran is the cinematographer.  He has 15 credits including "Ek Ladk Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga" (2019).

Vikrant Massey played Manoj Sharma.  He has 39 film credits including "Dil Dhadakne Do" (2015), "Ginny Weds Sunny" (2020), "Chhapaak"(2020) and "Hassen Dillruba" (2021).

Medha Shankr played the loyal girl friend Shraddha.  She has been a model and a singer.  She has 6 credits.

Joshi Anantvijay played a friend who helped with money and encouragment.  He has 10 credits including "Cobalt Blue" (2022) and "Kathal:  A Jackfruit Mystery" (2023).

Anshuman Pushkar, played Gauri, the failed coach who nonetheless was helpful.  Trained in the theater.  He has 6 film credits.

Priyanshu Chatterjee played DSP Dushyant Singh, the police officer who stressed the importance of not cheating and re-directed Manoj's goal.  He has 56 acting credits including "Tum Bin...Love will Find a Way" (2001) and "Bhoothnath" (2008).

Mukesh Chhabra helped with the casting.  For all the significant roles there was a requirement for at least 35 actors to test with the one exception being for the role of Manoj Sharma.  After studying acting he spent over six years teaching and acting.  He is noted for bringing such faces as Rajkummar Rao, Sushant Singh Rajpt, Mrunal Thakur, Prateik Gandhi, Sanya Malhotra and Fatima Sana Shaikh to the screen.  He has 223 credits for casting (+ 29 for the casting department and 29 for acting) including "Amal" (2007), "Kai Che Po" (20130, "Wrong Side Raju" (2016), "Mom" (2017), "Sacred Games" (2018-19), "Sanju" (2018), "Notebook" (2019), "The Family Man" (2019), "Dil Bechara" (2020), "Laal Singh Chaddha" (2022) and "Dunki" (2023). For a film where Mukesh had a lasting impression check  http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2013/05/kai-che-po.html

This film is capable of inducing tears and wild cheering.  Available subtitled on Netflix.

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