Friday, October 28, 2005


The film is only okay, with some of its glaring faults being too much forceful to let it be a good one. But first harping on the positives, first one is that a good actress has come to the fore, Vidya Balan. Though now would come the sternest test - will she be able to handle the stardom and yet mature as an actress ? Rather too elegant for the persona in Parineeta, yet she is the modern day Meena Kumari, and will do well if she is limited only to soft,sensuous roles ( she would have excelled in a remake of Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam). She is not an excellent actress, just good, and I don't think that she would make a versatile one. But a good,fresh talent. Another positive that the period has been captured effectively and the film captures the atmosphere a little bit( though only a little bit) of Calcutta. Its good that the filmmakers put the film in 1960s, an era with whose dresses and lifestyle the viewers could adapt themselves better than pre-Independence period ( of course, much depends on the director's vision; maybe the director could have placed the film in the Vidyasagar/RamMohanRoy period and could have made the turbulent social reform period as a backdrop, involving an increasingly long film but possibly a great epic film , but better to not to try something too ambitious at first try, so commendable effort by Sircar). Very good melodious music, and suiting to the mood of the film to the T, of course is adding value to the film.

The negatives ? here they are. Overly melodramatic, especially the climax scene. And not just that, but the whole film. As for example, the song Piyu bole has been too much mellowed , too much steeped into the sunset by the post crew. Similarly, there are often sound effects at crucial scenes, as for example when the heroine is stunned on seeing her haveli as the projected heritage hotel, just like those which are staply used in daily soaps running on the television and those sound effects are rather decreasing the impact of the visual; rather than emphasizing the visual, they are rather looking like giving a cue to the viewer that ' c'mon, now you've got to feel shocked'. The humor quotient of the film is not high enough nor good enough, though it has been tried enough. Secondly, going against what most of the people are saying or have said, Saif Ali Khan was to me a poor choice as the hero. He seems too brutal, and the director doesn't help matters when he is showing him brutally hitting Balan on-screen. And the most important, the flaw in the storyline itself. I don't know anything about Sarat Chandra's novel, but anyway the filmmakers have every liberty of modifying it, and they should've done so if the novel itself doesn't concentrate on the heroine' s dilemma about accepting money from Sanjay Dutt. After all, the money could have meant only one thing, that Dutt's character was head over heels in love with the heroine. She can't refuse, she is grateful, but there is a gnawing doubt always in her mind that what if a price were to be asked of her for this generosity ? And even if the price is never asked, she is understanding everything, perceiving everything, should she not then pay the price of her own accord ? This is the dilemma that the heroine should have been shown in. A grateful smile on Balan's face is there, okay, in the film, but it should have been followed by even deeper tensions , deeper introspection, and greater observation of Dutt's character, and maybe trying to please him and despise herself at the same time.

Then of course there are other flaws and issues. When Saif Ali Khan comes to know of her beloved's marriage to Dutt through her mother himself, then he is seen to come out from the haveli with a beautiful song just starting to rise from the night along with the whiff of a bidi of a lower-class person, complete with the slow,firm,steady action of his alighting the bidi. A beautiful sequence of frames! Why not more of such? And why the so much interchange of happy and sad sequences in the film ? Right after the heart attack of heroine's father, we have Saif trilling around in Darjeeling. Not letting the viewer to get sucked into the film at any stage is always a disaster recipe for the film.

Finally, a positive - the support cast is also brilliantly suited to their roles, even the elderly lady who is helping Saif's mother to cook in a very small sequence of frames. Maybe only the person playing the part of Saif's friend disappoints , among the support cast. Rekha and her costume are perfect for the cabaret song, as is the music itself and the lyrics.
An honest effort, a good effort, but doesn't turn out to be excellent fare. Vidya Balan's and Diya Mirza's characters needed more exploration, as did Saif-Balan's love.

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