Film: Via Darjeeling
Cast: Kay Kay Menon, Simone Singh, Rajat Kapoor, Sonali Kulkarni
Director: Arindam Nandy
This is an emerging stereotype.
A new director targets the multiplex audiences with a film distinctly urban in its ethos. Populated by a crop of reliable actors who would never threaten to be stars, Arindam Nandy’s film has all that one expects from the body of a multiplex film.
The characters live and dress in a manner befitting an upwardly mobile professional. Their lingo is apt too: a mix of English and Hindi. Spirits are high. Liquor flows along with kababs and loose talk. They discuss everything under the sun, including a colleague’s divorce and an acquaintance’s murder with the nonchalance of somebody discussing the day’s weather.
What is missing is the soul. The film ostensibly talks of a honeymooning couple in Darjeeling. One of the partners, however, disappears. Is he kidnapped? Killed? Or is it a suicide? Did the man have another woman in his life? Or the woman another man? There were myriad possibilities for Nandy to explore.
Unfortunately, he himself gets lost in unravelling this whodunit saga.
There is not enough focus on the possible murder to make it a thriller. There is not enough outside footage to make it an eye-soothing exercise.
Shot largely indoors, the film can be tolerated only because of its crop of bankable actors: Kay Kay Menon in the pivotal role of a newly married man who disappears is likeable as ever. And the likes of Simone Singh, Rajat Kapoor, Sonali Kulkarni all go through their motions with professional poise.
Nothing more, nothing less. Much like the film. Yes, thanks to the limitations of the script, and an assembly line of ragtag collection of shots from memory, Via Darjeeling is just a cure for afternoon boredom. Nothing more.
ZIYA US SALAM