Cast: Paresh Rawal, Om Puri, Javed Sheikh, Pavan Malhotra, Swati Chitnis, Masood Akhtar, Tushar Gandhi (special appearance)
Story-Direction: Amit Rai
Producer: Amit Chheda
Cinematographer: Suvir Nath
Music Directors: Sandesh Shandilya, Nitin Kumar Gupta, Prem Hariya, Vijay Mishra
Banners: Shashikant Chheda, A Shethia Audio Video Pvt Ltd Productions
The story is basically a heart transformation of a docile man, Hashmat Ullah (Paresh Rawal) into a leader because of whom his community rises above the communal segregation and becomes a part of the procession to Sangam for immersion of Gandhiji’s ashes. The story has been structured on two facts, one that Gandhiji’s last wish was to immerse his ashes all over India and for that the ashes were divided in twenty parts and sent all across India for immersion; the second fact being that one of the parts was discovered fifty years after his death in a National Bank in Orrisa by his great-grandson, Tushar Gandhi, and that was finally immersed by him in Sangam using the same truck that carried Gandhiji’s ashes in 1948.
Hashmat Ullah is a renowned Muslim mechanic who is entrusted the job of repairing an old V8 Ford Engine, which is supposed to carry the ashes of Gandhiji. During the process of repairing, he tends to visit the museum in Allahabad and becomes aware of Gandhiji and his noble causes, one of which was to unite the citizens of India. This leads to his enlightenment which he wants to pass on to his community but in the process he is opposed by an authoritative Mohammed Ali Kasuri (Om Puri) and extremist Maulana Qureshi (Pavan Malhotra). How he overcomes the protests by his own friends and community members makes for rest of the film.
Paresh Rawal as Hashmat Ullah is very convincing. He portrays the trials and turbulences of a person who is confused about his religion and is divided between his professional commitments and his responsibilities towards his community with fineness. Om Puri is good as a disillusioned Muslim who has lost faith in his own country. Pavan Malhotra, as a Maulana, is okay. Javed Shaikh as Dr. Banerjee, who is friend, philosopher, guide to Hashmat Ullah plays his part well. Others are passable.
The plot building is very slow and the film becomes partly interesting only during the latter half when Hasmat starts following Gandhivaad and is ready to face any challenge. The emotional stress he goes through is elaborated longer than required, which hampers the pace of the film. The editing needs to be crisper, especially during the first half. The songs are good and create the required feel. The art direction is appreciable. The dialogues are very simple and the dialect of Allahabad comes through.
Commercially, Road To Sangam has no prospects.