THE LEAST OF THESE: THE GRAHAM STAINES STORY movie review is here. Releasing this Friday – 29 March 2019, the movie is based on the true story of Graham Staines – the Australian missionary working in India helping lepers who met with a horrific fate in 1999 in Odisha. The film is directed by Aneesh Daniel and features Stephen Baldwin and Sharman Joshi. Does the debutant director Aneesh Daniel brings the reality to the people?, find out in THE LEAST OF THESE: THE GRAHAM STAINES STORY movie review.
Who was Graham Staines?
Graham Stuart Staines was an Australian Christian missionary who, along with his two sons Philip (aged 10) and Timothy (aged 6), was burnt to death by a gang of fundamentalists while sleeping in his station wagon at Manoharpur village in Kendujhar district in Odisha, India on 23 January 1999. Working in Odisha among the tribal poor and lepers since 1965, Graham Staines was alleged of conversions with force.
First time director Aneesh Daniel’s THE LEAST OF THESE: THE GRAHAM STAINES STORY has a mighty heart that easily gets settles as a faith-based film. The screenplay by Andrew Matthews uses broad strokes to paint the picture in Odisha, we don’t get the minutes and in depth scenario. It’s primarily scratching on the surface with reality by tingling it with a fictional character of honest journalist Manav Banerjee (Sharman Joshi), jobless Manav with a pregnant wife gets the assignment to cover the alleged ‘real’ game behind the conversions.
The editor of the local daily newspaper Kedar Mishra (Prakash Belawadi) though has his own agenda. Kedar promises Manav a full time job if he brings him the evidence on the alleged forceful conversions and loans him his camera.
After a brief encounter with a conversion activity duly captured by his camera, Manav is given a ‘bigger’ responsibility, He has to enter in the world of Staines, gain his confidence and bring the expected evidence. From here the movie falls prey to the predictability route and forgets the debate. The premise offered a solid chance to voice an opinion, make a statement but the movie seems to be contented with the idea of ending as a faith based cinema.
Earnest performance from Stephen Baldwin and Sharman Joshi. Shari Rigby as Staines wife leaves an impression; Prakash Belawadi is fantastic as always. The movie is a staple diet for the lovers of faith based melodrama.
As sad earlier, Graham Staines – the Australian missionary working in India helping lepers who met with a horrific fate in 1999 in Odisha, had potential dynamite in its premise but after a while finds itself converted into a faith based cinema.
There is no debate on the showcase of angel like humanity in THE LEAST OF THESE: THE GRAHAM STAINES STORY, the helping hand of Stains towards the lepers –abandoned by the family getting love, protection and care from an ‘outsider’, is an inspiring portrait of strength and character. But for someone like Stains who spoke about good deeds and humanity, wasn’t it necessary to highlight the politics behind his allegations and more..?. When we speak on the facts of life?, why we have to remain silent on the truth of death?.