Varied fare in festive season

Scenes from

Scenes from "Pinjar" now showing across Delhi.  


(At Wave, Noida, Chanakya

and other Delhi theatres)

THIS FILM based on Amrita Pritam's timeless novel brings back the whiff of the Partition, the same trauma, the same bloodshed, the same tears come rolling down. This is a lane we have visited with Govind Nihalani in "Tamas", this is a lane whose varied shades have been brought to cinema by the likes of Shyam Benegal and Saied Mirza. Yet, it hurts, it rankles and tells us once more that visiting history only brings recrimination, not redemption. Dr. Chandraparkash Dwivedi stays honest to Pritam novel in spirit and comes up with a film beautiful in parts, anguished in narration and exuding the pain and pathos associated with the bloodshed event. Yet it leaves you with a feeling of being short-change, probably the task of recreating Pritam's novel on the silver screen was too much, probably because others have used the subject with dashes of love to come up with money spinners. Remember that outrageously loud "Gadar?" which did so well commercially?

Dwivedi's film opens with a Hindu girl - Urmila - being kidnapped by a Muslim guy - Manoj Bajpai - on the eve of her marriage. The man is no rogue, it turns out. He has done it under the pressure of his uncles who had seen their sister being similarly taken away by Hindus in the past. It is not a comfortable journey from thereon for either the man, overcome by scruples of conscience, or the girl, now rejected by her family yet longing to be with them. Interwoven with the plight of the couple is the plight of migrants on either side of the border. Cinematorgrapher Santosh Thundiyil is able to recreate the ambience of the `40s so skilfully that you hardly realise it is 2003 now. And his characters dig deep into their reservoirs to unlearn what they have mastered in their Bollywood journey. The best of them is Manoj Bajpai with his portrayal of Rasheed with his now cruel, now caring, now angry, now anguished man. Urmila lends dignified support as do Sanjay Suri and Sandali Singh.

Yet the film falls short. Yes, it is touching in parts and it is beautiful too. It evokes emotions too. Yet it lacks in a cohesive whole and is impeded with narration that flip-flops often. Watch "Pinjar" if you still long for the `mitti' of `des', watch it if you want to experience the agony all over again. Otherwise, take to bed Pritam's novel. No addition, no fluff, just a very human experience there.


(At PVR, Saket and other Delhi theatres)

Scenes from "Finding Nemo" now showing across Delhi.

Scenes from "Finding Nemo" now showing across Delhi.  

THE DARK deep seas come to the fore like never before. No nether world violence, no murky goings-on, "Finding Nemo" is a heart-warming tale of a father's search for his child. Only thing is here we have a Father Fish and a Child Fish. The father is as usual concerned about the baby, his safety, and his pranks. The kiddo is also, as usual, up to some tricks every day, every moment. All is fine and quite hilarious until one day he goes for a swim too far and into a diver's net. As the father starts a search for the child the viewers are treated to some breathtaking spectacles of the world under water - beautiful, enchanting, gripping.

Yes, Marlin is looking for Nemo but his search is so engrossing that you and I want him to rescue his baby with almost as much passion as we would for a human being. Along the way, he finds his own companion in this Walt Disney-Pixar replete with superb computer graphics and wonderful voiceover. The dialogues are cute, tender, the moments between the baby lost and found even more so. It has strong visual narrative, breathtaking locales and very human situations. "Finding Nemo" has Sharon Calahan and Jeremy Lasky's camera and Albert Brooks and Alexander Gould's voices. They do their job with such splendid ease that the film on fish is never a fishy affair, never a dull moment despite being removed from the world of humans. All this makes it a real heart-warming film when you are through with the festivities. Yes, little Nemo is irresistibly beautiful. And the film memorably breathtaking! Watch it. After "Monsters' Inc" this is the best bet you have to take your kids out. And if Grandma wants a day out, it is not a bad idea at all!


(At Shiela and other Delhi theatres)

Scenes from "Sssshhh" now showing across Delhi.

Scenes from "Sssshhh" now showing across Delhi.  

HERE COMES a film that promises to live up to its name. Director Pavan Kaul's "Sssshhh" arrived stealthily, furtively. Almost unnoticed. It is likely to depart much the same way. Barely a whimper, barely seen, hardly talked about. Which is sad considering the latest from the Samarth clan, Tanishaa shows plenty of zest, some poise and polish too. She looks the part on the big screen and can do with a more reliable friend for a cameraman. With experience she only get better. Which is something one would like to say about the director as well. There is a catch though. After as cluttered and as clumsy a beginning he can only get better.

On the face of it, "Sssshhh" starts off as a murder mystery. Well-known TV artiste, Simone Singh, in a guest appearance she would like to forget, is killed under mysterious circumstances. Her friend in college meets with the same fate. Whodunit? Nobody knows. The man is on the prowl with the girl victim's sister - Tanisha - being the next possible target. In between screams and squeals of fear, the director takes time out to sneak in a couple of songs, turns a reasonably straightforward murder mystery into a love triangle of sorts - Dino Morea and Karan Nath vie for the girl's attention - and reduces the audiences to helplessness. Even when the finger of suspicion points at the heroes, nobody really believes the director. There are too many loopholes along the way that just make this film a `see-and-forget' affair.


(At Odeon and other Delhi theatres)

HA! AFTER "Sssshhh" this one seems to be straight from the Hitchcock School. Wait a minute, director Vikram Bhatt's "Inteha" is a film that stays focussed for most of the time and only occasional lapses diminish its value. Many summers ago, Raj Babbar and Reena Roy had starred in a film of the same name. The film failed at the box office. Bhatt's film would need some luck to avoid a similar fate even if it is a notch above Kaul's film.

Incidentally, it also marks the debut of Ashmit Patel, Amisha Patel's brother, who needs a capsule course of voice modulation and whose face can do with more malleability too. He has a reasonable screen presence but is uncomfortably close to John Abraham who made his debut with "Jism" this year and Arbaaz Khan who opted for a similar route to non-existent stardom with "Daraar". "Inteha" is a rare Hindi film with two sisters as the main protagonists. Vidya plays the all-caring elder sister to Nauheed's little sister. If the elder sister is forever Mother Hen, the youngster could not care less. The film develops quite well and with the entry of lover boy Ranbir - Patel - it only gets better. The man is out to befuddle the young girl. The sister would like to protect her. Only thing is the youngster trusts her instincts more than the sister's logic. It is all quite engrossing as the sisters play a game of cat and mouse with each other while the guy does the same with the elder sister! He has a shady past, she knows. The little one could not care less.

As this sister-watch scheme gets too long, too tardy, this film loses some of its momentum. It does recover some of the lost ground in the final frames. That is if you are there at the end. Watch this one for Nauheed's sad eyes, Patel's chill on countenance, or Vidya's perpetual lost looks.


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