Srijit Mukherji’s 'Uma' is more than a film; it shows how a real-life father-daughter’s bonding can become a reel-life magnum opus. The film starrs Jisshu Sengupta and his daughter Sara Sengupta that makes their relationship look natural and realistic throughout the film.
Sara is the titular character Uma who is the embodiment of her dreams, innocence and subtle maturity. Both father and daughter have poured their souls out to make this movie win our hearts. This cinema has captured a desperate and doting father, it shows how far a father can go to fulfill his daughter’s last wish.
Jisshu expressed in an interview that while shooting for ‘Uma’ he had gone through a difficult time on the sets. Seeing his own daughter Sara as a terminally-ill child wasn't easy for him as a father.
This film is a heart-warming tale of human emotions – nothing short of a miracle, really – and I have to say Mukherji did a very good job of transporting the story to the city of Kolkata.
The story of 'Uma' is inspired by the real-life story of Evan Leversage – a terminally-ill Canadian boy from St George, Ontario. His dying wish of witnessing Christmas celebrations for one last time moved the entire townsfolk to organise a ‘fake Christmas’ several months before that hallowed time of the year.
When Himadri Sen (Jisshu Sengupta), who resides in Switzerland, learns that his daughter Uma (Sara, Jisshu’s real-life daughter) has only a few months to live, he undertakes the impossible task of recreating Durga Puja in the month of April, painting the entire city of Kolkata in festive colours in the process – just to fulfil Uma’s final wish of witnessing Bengal’s most celebrated festival for the first time.
The stage is thus set for the unfolding of a miracle. Through close friends in the city, Himadri meets Gobindo (Rudranil Ghosh), a production manager. Gobindo, in turn, puts him in touch with a washed-out film-maker Brahmananda (Anjan Dutt), who puts together a team to execute what he feels could be his final masterpiece.
But it’s never easy-going as at every step Himadri has to encounter not only the disbelief of his partners-in-illusion but the many logistical issues he has to resolve – including conjuring a ‘mother’ for his daughter, a mother who had eloped with her lover when Uma was barely two years old.
A film-maker owes it to himself to tell a story, often only with passion at his disposal, even if, like in this case, the story is not being recorded on film and will never be available for posterity.
Mukherji highlights the importance of story-telling in our lives, the process of film-making, the film-maker playing God, a film’s ability to alter lives, even as Himadri tells Brahmananda that not a single frame of any film has the power to change anything.
Mukherji has named the characters to create an ironic plot out of mythology in real life. Uma is another name for Durga. Her father is Himadri, her mother Menoka. The director who puts the whole illusion together is Brahmananda. The art director is called Bishwakarma, the person who manages light is Arka Ray, the ‘villain’ of the piece is Mahitosh Sur (Mahishasur?). The friend who creates the artificial rain is Barun, the manager in the CESC who has the power to approve the supply of electricity is Indra!
This film has explored the father-daughter relationship, it shows how a father moved durga pooja for his daughter. You can catch up with this 2018 film on hoichoi.