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"Phir Milenge"

In "Phir Milenge" a serious issue has been handled with sensitivity and realism.

EVERY NOW and then comes a film that restores faith in cinema. And at the risk of sounding clichéd and repetitive reinforces the fact that the medium is a great platform to convey great stories, ideas and messages of hope. So much of what actually appears on the screen finally is, yes, the result of good team work, but above all it is the warmth and very real emotions that the director has within that comes to the fore and makes a narration into something moving and memorable. Sahara Manoranjan/ Percept Picture Company/ Telephoto Entertainments Ltd's "Phir Milenge" is Revathy's second directorial venture. And like the soft tones and tenor of the first one, ``Mitr," this one is an example of how issues can be dealt without preaching and melodrama. With sensitivity and realism. Issues like AIDS, for instance! Of course it has been inspired by the Denzil Washington-Tom Hanks film about the same issue. Comparisons are odious and especially when the film has been adapted to the Indian ethos with such degree of naturalness, you forget what the original was all about. Which is also why the performances of say Abhishek Bachchan as the lawyer, acquires its own character. The culture is different, so is the ambience, the story line (screenplay dialogue — Atul Sabharwal) striking a path of its own!

The film opens introducing Tamanna ( Shilpa Shetty) a young Creative Head of TJ Associates, an advertising agency, which has been successfully winning awards. Subramanium ( Raja Krishnamuthy) her boss, is also a father figure participating in all her joys and sorrows. For a two-day college reunion Tamanna goes to the school of art and theatre where she also meets up with Rohit, ( Salman Khan) who she is seeing after nearly ten years. Love is in the air. When it is time to go back Rohit writes his phone number on Tamanna's hand with promises of meeting soon. Tamanna forgets to write down the number and is agonising why she has not heard from Rohit.

Tamanna's sister meets with an accident and is admitted to hospital for treatment. She is fine only Tamanna has to replace the blood given to the girl. This done, Tamanna returns to work only to be called by the doctor and told that her blood sample is HIV infected. The world crashes around Tamanna, who can only link it up to Rohit. But where is he? Tamanna informs her boss, but colleagues are not prepared to welcome her. Her service is terminated `because of inefficiency.' A charge that stuns her, but also galvanises her into action. Legally. But that is not easy as no lawyer is willing to take up her caseHowever, Tarun (Abhishek Bachan), who realises that she is absolutely determined, decides to argue for her with help from his teacher (Nasser).

Never anywhere is the dialogue anything but normal. And not once do the three characters step out of line to be the stars they are. All you will see are three persons coming to terms with the situation and moving on. Shilpa Shetty plays her role magnificently. Abhishek is delightful as the playful lawyer, who takes stock of what he wants to do with his career, while Salman Khan is utterly vulnerable and lovable, even if he does not look as emaciated as he should, struck by the disease. There is an air of resignation about him that makes the character convincing.

The film owes much of its superb look to S. Ravi Varman, behind the camera who has made every frame look like a picture book - especially the close ups and the scenes in the first half. The colours and tones go beautifully with the theme. Bhavatha Raja's background score tugs at the heartstrings and the song ``Jeene Ke Ishare" by Shankar, Ehsaan and Loy, adds to the poignancy. Ashwin Ramanathan's editing gives the film its seamless quality. And then of course there is Revathy herself, who has crafted this entire venture with great sensitivity and empathy. Truly a film that must be seen.


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