11 Movie Review

posted Apr 4, 2019, 9:46 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Apr 4, 2019, 9:46 AM ]

The Least of These

After two decades of the incident, Graham Staines' story has finally been adapted on celluloid. Directed by Aneesh Daniel, the film, starring Sharman Joshi, Stephen Baldwin and Shari Rigby in the lead roles, released in India on March 29, 2019.

Some aspects of the film are disappointing. First, while the script does not underplay the pre-existing religious tensions in the region, somehow it comes across as if these tensions existed solely because of the presence of Graham Staines, and not because of several other missionary activities that have been ongoing for over a century before Staines set foot in Odisha. Second, while the film is about Graham Staines, the focus is mostly on Sharman Joshi, who plays the character of a prejudiced journalist - Manav Banerjee. Manav is tasked with exposing the missionary's conversion tactics. All we see or know of Staines in the film is through the eyes of this journalist. As a result, Joshi takes up most of the screen time, while Staines (played by Stephen Baldwin) gets sidelined. Third, Sharman Joshi and Prakash Belawadi (who plays an unethical newspaper editor) fail to impress, in spite of being fine actors. Fourth, the main perpetrator of the ghastly event is shown to be an individual who is not motivated by any political agenda, which may not have been completely true.