Film-makers repeatedly remind us of the potential for blunders when squeezing literature into a movie format. But Rohinton Mistry's novel survives the ordeal well, especially since it's set around the chaos of Bombay in 1971, prior to war with Pakistan.
Screenwriter Sooni Taraporevala distills a study of Gustad Noble (Seth), a bank clerk whose comfortable life is threatened. Initially it's just the municipality planning to widen the road outside his house. Soon, though, he's in conflict with his son, his daughter contracts malaria, and an old friend, Jimmy (Shah), asks for help with some dubious government goings on. But are Jimmy and his intermediary spies or terrorists? Noble struggles to hold his household together as his life falls apart.
Despite its soapy focus there is no melodrama here. The direction is even-tempered, the performances are impeccable, and the story is full of humour and heart.