Waarrior Savitri: Boring skin and sex show

When a film doesn’t manage to hold your attention you end up observing and ruminating on all kinds of irrelevant things. Like how a promising actor like Rajat Barmecha hasn’t acquired an identity beyond “of Udaan fame”. Or how a character in the film, who has lost all his wealth, talks of recession while drinking some premium red wine. Or how a foreign model cast as the vamp Candy dances to ‘Shake My Booty’, meticulously living up to the lyrics. And how the villain Money John, who doesn’t seem to have ever stepped out of Las Vegas, uses the term “behenji type” to describe a not so chic girl. A term used long ago by my generation of North Indians and one that is utterly passé and déclassé now. How did he get to know of it? Or, like me, you might even get busy counting the number of hair (albeit trimmed) on the ears of the actor Aditya Raj Kapoor who plays Thakur, the heroine’s father, till such time as the camera zooms in on the countless ones on his bushy feet and then – you just have to give up.

To get more serious and sombre, this modern-day adaptation of the fable of Savitri who saved her husband Satyavan from Yamraj, the god of death, and brought him back from the throes of mortality could have been an interesting way to turn around the gender divide, role-playing and expectations. In its own clumsy way it tries to, but only initially and that too very half-heartedly. The wide-eyed, childlike Satya (Rajat Barmecha), an NRI in Jodhpur is quite an innocent foil to his toughie local bride Savitri (Niharica Raizada). She puts on her hoodie very purposefully and fights the goons, while he looks at her moonily, calls himself a hopeless optimist and talks some gibberish about breaking his leg to bring their hearts together. Soon, the two get married and move on to Las Vegas, where Satya has a casino business and many threats to his life.

Director: Param Gill
Cast: Niharica Raizada, Rajat Barmecha, Om Puri, Gulshan Grover, Lucy Pinder, Ron Smoorenburg
Storyline: A young couple plays havoc with the union of an older couple.
Run time: 123 mins

Somewhere along the line the film turns into yet another skin and sex show. That too, a boring rather than titillating one — the kind in which the man is fully clothed in a swimming pool while the woman wears the itsy-bitsy bikini. Add to all this a dash of mythology, the talk of reeti-riwaaz and Shiva puja and all is well for letting the 21stcentury heroine go on a kissing spree. There are a couple of nods to the Modi era as well — right from proclaiming a date (in the age of Tinder, mind you) as chai pe charcha to the talk of a bloodless revolution to clean up the nation and turn it back into ‘sone ki chidiya’.

The film travels from scenic Jodhpur to a striking Las Vegas but nowhere does it show in its mounting. Shoddily shot, the film looks tawdry. A song feels particularly like a shabby shaadi video rather than the stuff feature films should be made of. More so, because the groom is extremely sad looking and the song is even sadder: ‘Hang on to me tight, kudiye nachle through the night’.

Barmecha smiles, Om Puri as Yamraj keeps guffawing, Raizada fights and dances industriously while all the foreign actors look totally befuddled. It’s left to Gulshan Grover (who is credited in the film’s credits as Satya’s dad) then to come up with the only good moment in the entire film, when he proclaims: “Ice cream mein burayi dhoondhna bahut mushkil hai”. We agree entirely.

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Printable version | Sep 20, 2021 3:59:42 AM |

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