Tuesday, June 22, 2004

notes of relationships

Sai Paranjpye's Saaz boasts an interesting soundtrack, which unfortunately features way too many songs to fit perfectly into a narrative that is also hampered by clumsy dialogue, staging and general hi-jinx. Although the rumour mill noted the marginal similarities to the famous Mangeshkar family, there's more this film has to offer. On the interesting front, there's the masculine name (Bansi -- short for Bansidhar) for Shabana Azmi's character, the sibling rivalry, the incident which echoes the stories behind ae mere watan ke logo.n, and best of all, the introduction of Zakir Hussain's character. Mildly Pancham-esque (in his music being radically different, his playful nature, his eccentricities), he also adds value to my favourite scene in the film when his character tells Bansi that he loves her, and rationally explains his feelings and emotions without spoiling the moment with either shock value or maudlin mush. And his contribution to the soundtrack (kyaa tumane hai kah diyaa) is a treat -- a great introduction to how different rhythm patterns can sound off-kilter and isolation and yet make perfect sense when overlaid onto each other. And then there's a reference to Henry VIII's "alas what shall i do for love" and its similarities to raag paTadiip. The Parikshit Sahni cult with relish his turn as Bansi's psychiatrist (complete with pipe!). And trivia-mongers will note the trademark good-luck-charm cameo by SP's daughter Winnie. All in all, the film merits a viewing, but a few trims and tighter execution without such a thin narrative would have given it that extra something.

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