What happens when a seemingly passionate one-night stand turns out to be platonic? In Hindi films, heroes often learn a lot about life at the doorstep of a hooker. Here it is the other way round. About to get married, photo journalist Sammy (Parambrata), pushed by his friends, visits a brothel, to lose his virginity. In Mallika (Paoli), he finds a teacher who is game to teach him the rules of the game but as the night ages Mallika discovers she has got a guest who is more interested in her soul than her body.
The two forge a bond but its impact seldom percolates through the screen for it turns out to be a ham fest where the director is completely self aware that he is going to preach to his heart’s content.
Told in flashback with elements of pop philosophy like soul mates and twin souls thrown in, it is a film that shouts for attention.
The dialogues are laced with cuss words to make the cosmetic scenarios sound authentic and then songs come in to prove that it is usual Bollywood fare. There is a strong Chameli hangover but while Sudhir Mishra’s film had a certain grace and humanness about the murky, morbid world, here the approach oscillates between amateurish and exploitative.
Sammy has been painted with pristine white with no moments of weakness. It reduces the conflict to a non-starter. He makes Mallika self pity her profession with throwaway lines like “Sari pehenkar puri lag rahi ho” (“Looking complete in a sari”).
Known faces in Bengali cinema, both Parambrata and Paoli are competent actors but it seems they have signed this film only to make their presence felt in Bollywood as lead players. They make the film feel a little less loud than it actually is. They ensure that the audience don’t give up on the contrived narrative but these are only small mercies.
Director: Subhash Sehgal
Cast: Parambrata Chatterjee, Paoli Dam, Vidya Malvade, Eva Grover
Bottomline : The intentions are noble, Parambrata is believable but ultimately it is just a poor man’s Chameli.