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This is a plodding whistleblower drama inspired by real events in the late 90s when a sales rep for Nestlé in Pakistan went public with allegations that the company aggressively marketed baby formula to mothers – a full two decades after the baby milk scandal sparked a worldwide Nestlé boycott.
It’s an earnest movie made with the best intentions, but rather flatly directed by the Oscar-winning Bosnian film-maker Danis Tanovic – and blandly acted by Emraan Hashmi, who plays the fictional character of Ayan as such a pure-hearted nice guy that it’s hard to see how he got into sales in the first place.
Ayan’s job selling baby formula for a global food giant involves lavishing gifts on doctors in return for their loyalty in recommending his company’s products to breastfeeding mothers. Ayan has no ethical qualms, until a paediatrician shows him a hospital ward full of sick babies suffering from chronic diarrhoea and acute dehydration caused by drinking formula mixed with dirty water. As a young father of two, he is horrified and quits his job to take on the company, loyally supported by his wife and parents. (A little resistance to their sudden loss of wealth and status might have added much-needed interest.)
The movie flashes backwards and forwards, framed – unnecessarily – with shots of a film crew making a documentary about Ayan. Danny Huston has a few scenes as a hard-nosed American producer who delivers producer-y lines such as: “I am this close to walking away from the project.”
Ayan is by now living abroad, though the film is unrevealing about his life in exile. Does he feel left hanging by the NGOs and film-makers who took up his cause, but whose exposés have been squashed by threats of legal action? There’s so little to absorb here – and not a single scene showing the perspective of a mother affected by the scandal.
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Tigers review – crusader confronts baby formula scandal | Film