Judaai (1997), Astitva (2000) & Before the Rains (2007)

Approaches based on target audiences only begin to tell of why the similar subject of root causes of dysfunctional marriages was approached so differently by directors of these three films, each without a conventional villain. Each presents characters with a rather grim assessment of marriage, and each presents moments of happiness in marriage to establish the ideal state. Each highlights that the root causes of the dysfunctional marriage existed from prior to the marriage. And finally, each presents the core issues early in the film so there aren't any abrupt ends and there's plenty of time for viewers to process the information as events unfold.



Back in high school, one of my favorite language teachers was of the view that because a letter is an aesthetic object that one writes and grasps, it is superior in emotional and physical investment to an electronic communication. That’s difficult to challenge, she said, especially in the case of love letters! Even the technology advocate in me has always found that conclusiveness (emotional and physical) difficult to dispute. (Besides, it was she who taught me the difference between 'mischief' and 'misbehavior', which is magnified in Urdu poetry ;)

The Mahesh Manjrekar-directed Astitva (Identity) essentially begins with a letter addressed to Aditi Pandit (Tabu). It is read to her by her husband Shrikant Pandit (Sachin Khedekar) in the company of their child Aniket (Sunil Barve), his fiance Revati (Namrata Shirodkar), and Shrikant's friend Ravi (Ravindra Mankani) and his wife Meghna (Smita Jaykar). The letter carries notification of one deceased Malhar Kamat having willed his estate and savings to Aditi.

Off we go to a flashback, which reveals every symptom of an over-controlling husband too blinded by his narrow-mindedness and narcissism to heed his wife and respond to her needs. This is also where we learn more of Malhar Kamat (Mohnish Bahl), Aditi’s music teacher. His introduction alongside the lovely Tabu comes in the beautifully integrated Gana Mere Bas Ki Baat Nahin by Shankar Mahadevan and Sadhana Sargam; from among the very situational soundtrack by Music Directors Rahul Ranade and Sukhwinder Singh.

What Shrikant deduces from his diaries (the vehicles for the flashback) guides the rest of the film, and it is from this point onward that the two fine actors in Tabu and Sachin take complete charge of the screenplay and do it the justice it deserves.

Astitva picks a side on the gender roles issue and hammers away relentlessly. It knows well where it stands, and it is why the message resonates so clearly. However, it is this lack of an identity crisis (true to the title) that is ultimately its big weaknesses. When it tries to make up, the effort is paltry and inconsistent with the character it uses for the delivery.

Here is my issue with an otherwise extraordinarily well-packaged film. It implies that an educated and progressive woman, by definition, cannot be one who chooses to be a housewife or stay-at-home mom. Please let this not appear as a challenge to one definition of feminism that advocates for extreme independence from men and not being remotely aligned with traditional gender roles. That is most certainly not my intent, and would not be near consistent with my opinion -- to each his/her own is how it should be, and a one-size-fits-all approach has only done harm to the world.

It's the implied exclusivity ('cannot be one...') that's the issue. A definition, by definition, intends to confine, and my contention is that the essence of ‘feminism’ is, first and foremost, freedom of and right to choice. It is simply fair for a woman to have the right, just as a man, to prioritize the focus of her energies. Whatever definition of feminism ignores this is incomplete. (A study of women students at Yale, results from which were shared in this NY Times piece from a few years ago, offers interesting supporting commentary.) Addressing to a greater extent this freedom of choice as an integral component of a woman’s identity would have undoubtedly made Astitva more credible and complete.

I am no psychoanalyst, but as a defender of the film, I would argue the filmmakers deliberately chose to focus overwhelmingly on one side of the issue to provoke even the slightest constructive thought in the minds of men like Shrikant Pandit and the couple’s son, to have them gravitate away from a hopelessly and extremely narrow-minded view to closer to the middle. Treated in this fashion, Astitva is a winner all the way.

Thanks (and thankfully so!) to forces that ensured I didn’t grow up to be a ‘male chauvinist pig’, I cannot attest to the effectiveness of this film in the eyes of what one would imagine are the primary target audience. Like anyone else, I can attest to the relevance of the relationship issues and the need for them to be addressed (in the region, especially). For tackling these issues head-on, and for thunderous performances by the leads (especially in the climax), Astitva is well, well worth watching. No. I mean, for Tabu alone, it is well, well worth watching ;)


Movie rating: 3.75/5 (Very good!)

Music rating: 3/5 (Above average)
True to its purpose, the soundtrack is much better within the film.

My Classification: R (For theme, language)

-----

Speaking of channeling focus and forms of energies, message-based films addressing relationship issues have many forms. Judaai (1997), directed by Raj Kanwar, offers a much less seriously addressed take on the subject (relative to Astitva). It is far more entertaining as a result.

A materialistic Kajal (Sridevi) marries Engineer Raj (Anil Kapoor), assuming he is destined for wealth given his profession. Raj is an honest professional who refuses to accept bribes, and prefers a modest lifestyle. And Kajal cannot stand him that way. This works to the advantage of Jahnvi (Urmila Matondkar), niece to Raj’s boss Sahni (Saeed Jaffrey), who offers Kajal an incredible amount of money to divorce her husband (legally and theoretically) so she could marry him. Jahnvi, of course, loves Raj despite his being married and having children. And Kajal, of course, accepts the offer in her lust for wealth. So begins the power struggle in a wacky love triangle in which the poor Raj must play second fiddle to each woman.

Can anyone be trusted more than Anil Kapoor and Sridevi to pull off a high-drama masala film? Here’s one very dependent on its actors’ abilities, which works well because it caters to their strengths. Urmila is the real surprise, and keeps up with the consistently commanding Sridevi, despite not always having leverage in the power struggle. Given the genre, it's easy to overlook the countless plot holes.

However, like most loud masala films of its era, Judaai is hardly immune to major distractions along the way. Here, those distractions come not from the supporting cast (Kader Khan, Farida Jalal, Johnny Lever, and Paresh Rawal, all effective), but from the soundtrack (Nadeem-Shravan). Picturized in locations that don’t have remote semblance to the plot (look, here’s one in Downtown Los Angeles!)…


…the bigger issue with them is that they are, for the most part, simply not good enough. This is inexcusable, because I identified at least three which were plagiarized from relatively much better works! Ooee Baba borrows its tune from I’m a Scatman by Scatman John. The title song, which is also the best song in the soundtrack, is nowhere close to this remarkable Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan version of the song. Johnny Lever gets a mess of a party song (could not find it online) which is lifted from a famous Ali Haider song in his noteworthy 1991 album ‘Qaraar’, titled 'Main reh gaya kunwara'.

Lever is notorious for not-so-classy comedies, but his comic timing is evident. I turned off the volume for this song (it was testing), truth is his body language alone makes it a laugh riot. He plays an aspiring actor who reenacts film scenes at every opportunity; funny enough to keep one entertained. Beware the cross-cultural challenges inherent in comedy. And be on the lookout for "abba-dabba-jabba!", which I must save for your viewing experience. It's unlike anything I've ever seen, and it's its silliness which makes it hilarious. Back to the music, and Anil and Sridevi do make up for quite a bit with their mere presence, though. Here’s an interestingly picturized Raat Ko Neend Nahin Aati. Perhaps the most popular song from the soundtrack is Mujhe Pyaar Hua.

Enjoyed that Raj and Kajal go to a cinema where Raja Hindustani (1996) is playing!


Speaking of which, Urmila starts from where she left off in Rangeela (1995)! (Did you really think I wasn't going to bring it up? :o)


It's late at night and pouring, and they're stuck in the house. She doesn't like this dude. He's been drinking. No extra credit for guessing where this is headed. =)


It’s intended to be an entertainer and family drama from start to finish, and there’s not a moment during which it loses that identity. Sridevi and Urmila are a sheer joy to watch, and Anil Kapoor is, as he always seems to be, in fine form. Complement these with a fun dose of comedy. Three and a half stars, then, for fun masala viewing.

Movie rating: 3.5/5 (Good!)

Music rating: 2.5/5 (Average)

My classification: PG

-----

At the root of the Santosh Sivan-directed Before the Rains (2007) -- an English-language film -- are two dysfunctional families. Their identities are questioned by their circumstances, and that at least one family does not have a foreseeable pleasant future. Sajani (Nandita Das) and the owner of the house in which she works as a maid-servant, Henry Moores (Linus Roache), are involved in an extramarital affair. Sajani's husband is abusive if there ever were one, and she mistakes Henry's advances and requests for sexual favors for 'true love'. Caught in the web are Henry's wife Laura (Jennifer Ehle), and T. K. Neelan (Rahul Bose), also a worker at Moores', whose loyalty to his boss is tested against what is truthful. Who will be hurt most, and who will emerge victorious?


The cast are great, but we knew that going in. What Before the Rains has in abundance that the two films discussed above do not, are breathtaking cinematography and a fine background score. This is not at all surprising, especially after having seen Tahaan (2008) by the same director.

Aside 1: Would this carry a clue to the primary target audience?


Aside 2: This is not a flashback to Naya Daur (1957). Here's a sneak preview (but I wouldn't watch more videos from the same user, because it gives away a good chunk of the film).


The film, set in the 1930s, casually uses the nationalistic movement in the backdrop, which works. It would likely have been much better served had it used the setting to a much greater effect. It could have gone in several interesting directions, but chooses a conventional approach that gives the product more of a TV movie feel than anything. Works if that’s for you.


It also falls somewhat flat in its narrative, especially with respect to establishing believable motivations behind the characters’ (often drastic) actions. If there's a reason beyond lust for which Henry cheats on a gem of a woman who is his wife, it isn't at all evident. Either way, it's too bad such genuine evil exists. And that's just the way it is.


Problem is, Nandita Das has conditioned us to expect much better, and that’s part of why I was left somewhat dissatisfied. It's far from a bad film, though, and fine enough if treated as just another story of betrayal and infidelity, and their consequences in the specific case.

Movie rating: 3/5 (Above average)

My classification: R (for theme, some sexual situations)

Official website: http://www.BeforeTheRains.net

And finally…
After seeing this brown striped tie in Garam Hawa (1973) and now Before the Rains, in both cases with some shade of a white shirt and trousers, is it safe to assume the look was extremely popular in the 1930s through ’50s?

36 comments:

Sujoy said...

Haven't watched Before the Rains.

I loved Astitva, and have loved it even more on repeated viewing sessions. As mentioned, Tabu is absolutely explosive in this role as Aditi, and she literally grabs Shrikant by the balls in that climax. My issue though, was with Aniket's character. Even he turned out to be a male chauvinistic pig and he treats his mum like that. Give him a rapta already!! And Shrikanth Pandit should be hung upside down and given some nice treatment from Mumbai Police [ slumdog flashbacks].

As for Judaai, all i can remember is - Allah Miya, and the Jaspinder Narula playback of the title track. And yes, Johnny Lever -Appa Chappa Dabba--did u notice Paresh Rawal with a Superman-esque '?' on his forehead. True to its character, Judaai was an out and out popcorn movie

Bhargav Saikia said...

Judaai was very entertaining, thanks to Sridevi. Her screen presence is unbeatable. We want her back in movies, don't we!?

Johnny Lever is a funny guy! Totally agree about his body language. I like the way he rolls his eyes..I find that hilarious! LOL! I think our Bollywood comedians are brilliant..Mehmood, Johnny Lever, Rajpal Yadav, Paresh Rawal and the rest.

Abba Dabba Jabba is the best thing I've seen today! Thanks for the video! LOL! I can't stop laughing!

theBollywoodFan said...

Sujoy: I'll have to see Astitva again some day, I'm sure there's more to appreciate. Tabu was brilliant in the climax, there are only a couple more in Bollywood today who would dare give it a shot. That one scene with the song in honor of the household, without playback singing and mostly focused on her face, was just magnificent too. Agreed on the Aniket!

Re: Judaai, I should have said more of Paresh Rawal with that question mark. He was the most annoying of them all, which means he succeeded, LOL. I'll probably add a screenshot later.


Bhargav: I'd seen Judaai back in the 1990s, but had a lot of fun (probably more) this time around too. Sridevi zindabad, absolutely! None has filled the void.

As for "abba-dabba-jabba"...there are such hilarious scenes set around it, as you know. The one with Johnny Lever singing "Mangta hai kya" from Rangeela is just ridiculously funny! And those scenes with Paresh Rawal and Kader Khan were hilarious. From the very first scene of the film, too!

All the comedians you've mentioned are great at what they do/did. It must be difficult, and they make it look so easy. I think Johnny Walker is my favorite of all time. Also like some of what the more mainstream heroes who specialized in the genre have given us, people like Govinda and Salman.

ajnabi said...

After Chameli, I've been wanting to see more Rahul Bose, but a lot of his movies have kind of bummer endings so I'm spacing them out. I don't know if I have Before the Rains in line or not! However, I definitely want to check out Judaai. More Urmila! More Anil! More Sridevi. And the plot looks really fun.

theBollywoodFan said...

Rahul Bose really is consistent in the quality of his work. I'd definitely recommend Tahaan, more so than Before the Rains.

Judaai is much fun, and I'm sure you'll have fun with it. There's lots to appreciate for fans of the cast. Speaking of which, what did you think of Urmila in Rangeela? (if you saw the songs beforehand, you knew where Jackie dada was headed, but still :o)

Filmi Girl said...

Oh interesting! You've inspired me to dust off the copy of Judai the PPCC gave me a few months ago...!

JJC said...

oddly, i came across astitva last night and saved it to rewatch some time this week. I love the what the film aimed to communicate and agree with how you feel about it.
Judaii is one of my fav films (how can it not be, im in love with that pair). all the characters had cracks in them and how they figure out the right way to deal wiht them moved the story along. urmila really was a surprised and was able to withstand sridevi's presence.

theBollywoodFan said...

Give it a shot, Filmi Girl! I thoroughly enjoyed it, and hope you do too.

maxqnz said...

Thanks for the reviews, TBF. Having established that our tastes are sim ilar I skim for your rating to see if I want ot try to find the movies you review, so will look out for Judaai and Astitva. I havent seen Urmila in far too long, must be time to dust off Chamma Chamma for a refresher. Before the Rains is top of my rental queue anyway, for one obvious reason.

theBollywoodFan said...

JJC: What a coincidence! Thanks for your comment. It'll be interesting to re-watch Astitva, that's for sure.

Cannot recall an Anil Kapoor-Sridevi movie I do not like. And Urmila is just great in this too. I agree that the actors are more than good enough to make it a better film than it is. And what an entertainer! Been a while since I enjoyed a pure masala flick this much!


Maxqnz: You're welcome. Assuming you can stand loud comedy and melodrama, you will enjoy Judaai. It's a shame Urmila's had to settle for the likes of RGV Ki Aag and Himesh Reshammiya's Karzzz recently. She's still gorgeous, and she can act! If you miss her more, 'Bas Ek Pal' and 'Banaras', both from 2006, are some of her recent works I didn't dislike at all.

I think you'll appreciate Astitva. Of course, Before the Rains is a must-see for fans of Nandita Das! ;)

Anonymous said...

Judaai is a hindi remake of a telugu movie. Yes it was a true masala entertainer and Sridevi did a good job.

Astitva was really good esp Tabu was awesome.

I hope i will be able to find "Before the Rains" - Down Under

bollyviewer said...

Thats too bad about Before The Rains - I like all the actors in it and was hoping for a more interesting film. But then movies about that era tend to go wrong more often than not!

I saw Astitva long ago and remember being rather disappointed in it. Everybody was such a black and white good/bad kind of character! For a movie that ostensibly set out to give a feminist message, it grated too much to be of any practical use in terms of reformings MCPs (Male Chauvinist Pigs). A more subtle hand in drawing the characters and their actions would have made it so much more watchable.

Pitu said...

ABBA DABBA JHABBA!! hehehe I love that bit ;-D

Astitva was awesome, only Tabu could have pulled off that part. Also, dunno if you noticed, but in that movie Sachin Khedekar's character lives and works in NIGERIA :D

I love Judaai too for all its masala goodness and I think Urmila looked divine throughout and Sri was amazing!

Before the Rains frankly seemed a lil Jag Mundhra p0rn0 types but that may just been the marketing campaign that portrayed it as such. Also, a usual gripe from me-- who in South India would be named Sajani?? UGH!

theBollywoodFan said...

Anonymous from Down Under! Hope you are well. I had no clue Judaai is a remake, thank you for noting that. Astitva would have been very different without the cast, and especially Tabu, agreed. And good luck finding 'Before the Rains', it's been out there for a couple of years, should not be the most difficult to obtain.

Bollyviewer: This is true, about movies (like Before the Rains) based in that era.

I'm with you on the very black/white characters (and their stances, even!) in Astitva. You're also probably right about MCPs not being impacted much at all. I did find the film to be very watchable as a mere outsider looking in (and not treating it as a message movie alone), and I wish I could quantify this, but Tabu probably has much to do with it. =)

theBollywoodFan said...

Pitu: Seriously, that abba dabba jabba bit is really funny :D (Just go to YouTube, search for 'abba dabba jabba', and see that first video; it's so loud and so over the top, but it's hilarious!)

Of course, I noticed Nigeria (okay, doing business there) was the root of the biggest issue in Astitva, and for giving Tabu that grief, I'm not sure that's easy to forgive :)

Haven't seen anything by Jag Mundgra, so can't compare anything with Before the Rains. Seems we're far from the primary target audience of the film, and that might have something to do with why I didn't like the film a whole lot, and why the marketing campaign didn't mean much to you. Oh, well.

And yaar, Sajani could have been a migrant! <|:o)

So when are we continuing that geetmala?

Anonymous said...

Pitu & Bolywoodfan - pls see Jag Mohan Mundra's "provoked" - Ashwariya has done a real good job. It is based on a true story from UK. This is the only Jagmohan movie I have seen and I think he has done a good job in directing the movie.

Bfan - thanks for that identity - Anon from Down Under!

theBollywoodFan said...

Thanks, Anonymous (from Down Under! If this is the Anon who I think it is -- of course I remember you from previous discussions here -- and that shall henceforth be your identity, LOL...but only if you're cool with it, of course :)

Appreciate the recommendation. I'm willing to check out any movie with Nandita Das, so that's added incentive. Thank you again!

maxqnz said...

I hope i will be able to find "Before the Rains" - Down Under

Anon from Down Under, I'm guessing you're from that giant penal colony to my west. If we have Before the Rains here on the English-speaking side of the Tasman, I'm sure you'll be able to find it in Oz. :)

maxqnz said...

pls see Jag Mohan Mundra's "provoked" - Ashwariya has done a real good job

I must agree. I got this movie out for Nandita, of course, but Ms Rai again howed that she can act when the focus is off her glamour. I would say this and Raincoat are my 2 favourite Aish movies - she was surprisingly good in this one. Very solid cast all round and it was a nice change to see Nandita helping the victimised and abused female lead instead of being the victimised and abused female lead.

theBollywoodFan said...

Thanks, Maxqnz. I shouldn't have discounted Aishwarya in my previous comment. I liked Raincoat too, and agree that she can act. In fact, I thought she was great even as a rather glamorous Jodhaa, in what I think was one of the best performances by an actress in any 2008 film. And you're absolutely right about Nandita and her roles! Great, so I'm looking forward to checking it out! Thanks.

Darshit said...

Heard abt Before the Rains for the first time !!! And yet to catch Astitva. But Judaai, I somewhat dislike. Just that, its overplayed on TV and Loud Johnny I can't stand at. But yes, Abba Dabba was hilarious. And Roti hui Sri nooo....give me Chulbuli anytime :)

theBollywoodFan said...

Aww, too bad. I guess the loud and over-the-top comedy worked well for me in this case. I thought Johnny Lever, Paresh Rawal, and Kader Khan, were all really good.

Didn't mind Sridevi going through that rona dhona. She made it all very convincing and justified. Also must admit to rooting for Urmila throughout, and *SPOILER* not agreeing with the end *END SPOILER*, although that was probably the best way to keep it to a masala film with high-level messages that did not contradict one another.

maxqnz said...

I thought Johnny Lever, Paresh Rawal, ... were all really good.


Oooh, a dilemma - Paresh Rawal who I love and think of as the heir to Johnny Walker as the current king of filmi comedy and Johnny Lever who makes me want to vonmit and throw stuf at the screen every time he appears. What to do? In the end, I doubt even the fantastic Paresh can outweight the supreme awfulness that is Johnny Lever so I might have to give this one a miss.

theBollywoodFan said...

Here's something to consider -- at least two other characters in Judaai, including Kader Khan, feel the same way about Johnny Lever's character. I don't know about Lever, though. As I say in the post, just his facial expressions in the film are funny enough to get me laughing :) But...you have been warned.

Anonymous said...

Yes I am cool about Anon from Down Under!

Yet another Aishwariya movie for her acting ability is Mani Ratnam's tamil movie "Iruvaar". In fact it was her first movie. I saw it last weekend and am yet to get over the experience of watching a truly good movie in terms of story, acting and direction. Those who are familiar with characters from T Nadu politics will easily identify the players - ie MGR, Karunanidhi, Jayalalita, MGR's wife Janaki etc. Mohanlal, the talented and famous malayalam actor has done a real good job. The movie sketches life and times of MGR including his acting phase plus the politics phase.

Maxqnz, yes I am the neighbour from the penal colony on your west!

Anonymous said...

Sorry forgot to add - i too enjoyed Nandita Das's short role in "Provoked". Cool breezy acting. As a viewer, you keep rooting for all the help she renders to Aishwariya's character in the movie. A welcome change for her in terms of the rolea as Maxqnz pointed out

theBollywoodFan said...

Thank you again! I haven't seen many Tamil movies at all (that should be 'any', not 'many', LOL), and Iruvaar should be a good place to start, especially since I enjoy films with political themes. Besides, I'm sure this and 'Provoked' will help me forget Aishwarya in Sarkar Raj, which I saw not too long ago. I quite enjoyed Sarkar, and Sarkar Raj had a decent theme and plot, but...oh, well.

maxqnz said...

I haven't seen many Tamil movies at all

If you enjoy movies with piolitical themes and movies with Nandita Das, then you MUST see Kannathil Muthamittal - it is a fantastic movie on the Tamil situation at a human, personal level and Nandita's performance is very strong, even by her excellent standards. Of course, since I don't speak a word of Tamil (apart from kadhal, which doesn't come up much in this movie) I rely on the subs, but I am very proud to own this movie. It is literally a must see

Anonymous said...

If you haven't seen any tamil movies at all, then may i suggest you begin with Kandukondein-2 which is an adaptation of Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility. Aishwariya has done a good job in it and it also has mamooty as one of the heroes. Tabu has a fab role in it too. (Tabu has a short but interesting role in Iruvar too.). In fact i thought u had written about Kandukondein some where esp the song picturised on Ajit and Tabu in Egypt.

"Mozhi" - a recent movie would be another excellent one to begin with. Bollyviewer may have reviewed it on her blog.

I would also recommend you see other tamil movies like "Mauna Ragam" another mani ratnam movie of the 80s (good review on Bollyviewer's old is gold blog). Another good tamil movie to start with would be the Tabu, Abbas and another hero (forgetting the name) "Kadal Desham" - 90s movie about friendship. Tabu was too good in that movie.

Mani Ratnam's "Agni Nakshatram" would also be a good movie to watch.

You could perhaps watch Iruvar after that. I would like you to truly enjoy Iruvar like i did and for that it is my personal view that you need a feel for tamil cinema to begin with.

Anon from Down Under!

theBollywoodFan said...

Maxqnz: I'll look for Kannathil Muthamittal, thanks for the recommendation. "Strong by Nadita Das's standards" sounds too good to miss! Yes, I'll have to rely on the subtitles too, of course.

Anon from Down Under! I misspoke in my previous comment. The only one I have seen is 'Kandukondain Kandukondain', which I really enjoyed. Agree with your thoughts on it, Tabu and Ash were great. I'll look forward to seeing your other recommendations, probably beginning with 'Kadal Desham' (Tabu and Abbas!). Thanks again for your advice, I'll definitely take it before seeing 'Iruvar'.

Cheers, and I hope you all have a great week!

Pitu said...

Anon: I have seen Provoked and I do think it was a good movie and Ash rocked in it. However, prior to Provoked (and with the exception of Bawandar), Mundhra has pretty much made s0ft c0re films. Check imdb for his flmography! One sleazy director that fellow is. YUCK!

Anonymous said...

Pitu - I guess I was saved! As I said I have only seen Provoked and I liked it.

theBollywoodFan said...

While on Astitva, here's an interesting news story that's relevant to how destructive identities formed through generalization can be. Be back in a couple days. Cheers, all!

Bollywood Rocks said...

Really nice site. I also recently started a blog, and would greatly appreciate it if you could please come and leave comments and maybe even subscribe. Thank you so much.

Bollywood Masti
http://desifilmimasti.blogspot.com/

maxqnz said...

I thoroughly enjoyed this film, even though I may have surprised some of the people in my row at the cinema by bursting out laughing at th point in the movie at which the gun is fired - I couldn't help thinking "Not Again!"

Anyway, I liked this movie for its two simply gorgeous leads - Nandita Das and Kerala. The cinematography focussed on both lavishly, and to good effect. As for the story, I watched the credits and saw that it was based on Red Roofs", by Danny Verete. I googled it, and read a plot summary that I won't link to here because it is ALMOST identical. The almost is relveant because it shows that the independence-movement setting you describe is part of Sivan's efforts to add something distinctive to the film. I think the ending of this film was quite effective, and actually makes more sense than the description of the ending in "Red Roofs". I am pleased I saw this film for Nandita nand for Kereala, both of whom looked stunning even when shot in extreme close-up. Rahul also did well with what he was given in terms of the conflicted "trying to have it both ways" character.

theBollywoodFan said...

Glad you enjoyed it! So you got to see it at the cinema? That must've been a treat with the cinematography, Kerala and Nandita ;)

Agreed on Rahul too, and on the ending. I just wish they'd have used more of the independence movement, but don't know if that could be easily done do without taking away for Sajani's story, which is the central plot element, of course.

Thanks for the bit on Red Roofs, and shame on me for not paying more attention to the credits. Lesson learned!

Cheers.