Saturday, November 26, 2005

old Factory notes about uxoricide [sep 18, 2005]

The problem with My Wife's Murder is nothing really happens. While debutante director Jijy Philip is supported in his steady efforts by an eager cast, there's a prevailing sense that there's some payoff at the end (and there isn't). Can't quite put my finger on it, though. All other departments function in the well-oiled fashion typical of RGV/Factory products. Anil Kapoor manages a great match between looks and a sincere portrayal of a husband tossed into a whirpool of confusion and remaining dangerously unperturbed on the outside. Suchitra Krishnamurthy makes a great corpse. Nandana Sen's performance eerily straddles a thin line between a ham sandwich and muster. The background score works for the most part. Boman Irani does his bit, although you get a strong sense that his take on the character belongs more in a Buñuel opus than here.

This isn't to say that the film's a tank like Vaastu Shastra. Call it my soft corner for RGV and his camp. I still think it's a fairly bold attempt at shaking mainstream audiences out of their formula-induced stupor. RGV's already eschewed all song-and-dance. And there's an emphasis on tightness in the different technical departments. Now we have this film, which refuses to yield to the temptation to spike its narrative with a few (clearly unnecessary) thrills. This modest effort thus works best as a challenge to the off-the-shelf component-based film production that seems rife in Bollywood today: Everything's a cliché everything induces a strong stench of déjà vu. All variations from the norm are coated in conventional foil (side-effect: any useful impact is dulled to the level of mashed potatoes without gravy). Hats off to RGV, even though I now wish the makers had (a) either retained the original ending of Madhyanam Hatya (could someone tell me who actually directed it? JDC or RGV?) (b) or gone ahead with the Galti Se/Jaan Boojh Ke experiment.

There are a few nice details evident in the film. There's the obvious irony (made even more obvious by a remark by Boman's character later on in the film) that a film editor manages to "edit" his wife out of his life.

Obvious excisions: the flashback montage when Ravi (Kapoor) tells Reena (Sen) the truth. A little more tightness in other sequences might have made this a leaner (and arguably better) effort.

Movie quote: The Boman subtext in the film seems to have come straight out of Hitchcock's Frenzy, where Chief Inspector Oxford tries (often in vain) to survive being a guinea pig for his wife's cooking experiments.

And that was all YT had to say about a film about nothing (which might disappoint people expecting a "thriller").

Question: Is it possible for the cops to have caught up with the bus?

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