Friday, November 21, 2003

Dhoop: sunburnt by the maudlin

What prevents this film from being a worthy cousin of Mahesh Bhatt's Saaraansh based on the real-life story of Shaheed Capt. Anuj Nayyar is the sentimentality, songs (both in the foreground and background), pathetic background score, bad editing and general TV-style filmmaking. Gul Panag makes a better-than-crashed début, but her dimples merit more praise than either her acting skills or diction. Om Puri and Revathi (whose South-tinged diction may get some people flaming me and the film) are first-rate in this tale of the parents of a decorated Kargil martyr who struggle to get the permissions necessary to set up the petrol pump that the Government has given them as compensation. Sanjay Suri passes muster in a brief role, but the romantic flashback was really unnecessary. And having Jagjit and Hariharan inundate the soundtrack with deja-vu-esque light singing did not work for me. A waste. The downward spiral into corruption and the parents' struggle marks the most engaging section of the film. The problem with the utopian end is the sheer amateurish approach to setting it up, sending it all the way to the fence with the absurd. After all how can the PM (of whom we only see stilted eyes reminding me of S P Balasubramaniam and horror films where the protagonist turned into a snake) bring order to the chaos in FIVE MINUTES??? A pity really, The heart's in the right place. But the mind did not intervene. But I don't think I'll be premature in claiming this as my pick for a movie based on Kargil. J P Dutta's starfest does not pique my interest one teensy weensy bit.

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