Monday, May 30, 2005


Watched Raincoat over the holiday weekend and it seems that Indian cinema is finally coming of age. Over the past few years, despite the proliferation of trash by Bollywood, there have been influx of some quality movies by some new directors. Raincoat is one such movie, which does not resort to humongous sets for song/dance routines nor slapstick comedians hamming away or Ms. Sherawat displaying her cleavage in ample measure. Apparently inspired by O Henry’s ‘The Gift of Magi’, which I have not had the privilege to read yet, the screenplay, script and performances are above par.

Nilu (Aishwarya) and Manu (Ajay Devgan) are old acquaintances, who once were romantically involved.. The romance, of which there is only subtle references without resorting to boy-girl-runs-around-trees and flower caressing each other shenanigans. Nilu breaks Manus heart when she decides to marry someone for security in life, rather than some clichéd emotion called love. Manu takes the rejection pretty hard, but the level headed Nilu castigates him for his social standing and current monetary plight. Manu is currently facing hard times and comes to Calcutta to borrow money from friends. While visiting Calcutta he decides to visit Nilu, despite protests from his friend. The crux of the movie is the interaction between Nilu in one room which starts off with both the central characters show-boating their supposedly gilded lives. Slowly the lies begin to pile on, each layer thicker than the other, with each one trying to outdo the other. When Anu Kapoors characters enters the picture, lots of things finally fall into place. The film ends on a poignant note with Nilu and Manu going their own separate ways, but not before a few surprises before the end.

The overall direction is excellent, though the pace of the movie is sometimes a bit slow. What stands apart is the superb ensemble cast and the acting by Ajay Devgan and Aishwarya which is played with substantial restraint by both these characters. After ‘Choker Bali’, which really do anything for me, Riturparno deserves all the kudos for this gem of a movie. There is a scene when Aishwarya’s character talks about running away from everything and placed besides her is a bust of an angel with a dove ensnared in its clasp. The music by Debajyothi Mishra is something else. Shubha Mudgal voice is earthy with the right touch of heart breaking melancholy. The song ‘Piya Tora Kaisa Abhiman’ is filmed with a poetry narration by Gulzar, during a pivotal scene in the movie. Cinematic nirvana. Definitely a must watch. One stanza from the poetry by Gulzar

Kisi mausam ka jhoka tha
Jo is deewar par latki hui tasveer, Tirchi kar gaya hai
Gaye saawan mein yeh deeware seeley nahin thi
Na jaane is dafa kyo inme seelan aye gayi hai, darare pad gaye hain
Aur seelan is traha bahti hai, jaise khusk rukhsaro ke geele asoo chalte hain


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Awesome lines to end a good review of a beautifully made love story!
Gulzar is one of my fav poets. I like him due to the earthy metaphors and simplicity of language in his poetry.
I, like a million others, am a big fan of Ash too and it was refreshing to see her in such an unrestrained role.

I am surprised though that you haven't read the Gift of the Magi yet. I thought it was in the high school english text books in India, wasn't it?


8:20 AM  

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