A watchable film but lacks due promotion

Producer: Reliance Big Pictures.
Writer-Director: Vinay Shukla.
Cast: Konkona Sen Sharma, Raima Sen, Boman Irani, Shreyas Talpade, Arunoday Singh, Shahana Goswami, Rajpal Yadav, Sushant Singh, Ila Arun, Pitobash and Prem Chopra.

MUMBAI: The title Mirch suggests nothing about the film’s content.

The film incorporates four stories, all of similar themes: that of women caught cheating on their husbands. Not only that, but also of how they wriggle out of the situation making their men bear the burden of guilt.

Arunoday Singh, an aspiring film writer, has written a script. Through his friend, Shahana Goswami, he narrates the script to producer Sushant Singh, who likes it but feels it is too short for a full length film.

Singh cooks up three more such stories, two set in the olden era while the others are contemporary. While in the first tale, Raima Sen the wife of Rajpal Yadav, a wage earner in a small village, cheats on him out of need for sex, in the second, Konkona Sen Sharma, the young bride of an aged king, Prem Chopra, also does the same because the old man, in his sixties, has no inclination towards conjugal pleasures.

In the third story, Raima Sen retaliates with an affair because her husband, Shreyash Talpade, keeps doubting and testing her virtue by donning new getups. In the last story, Konkona Sen Sharma cheats on her husband Boman Irani because she neither gets money nor sex from him. She gets both by indulging in prostitution.

The stories are inspired by Panchatantra and The Decameron, a collection of novellas by Giovanni Boccaccio whose own inspiration often came from Panchtantras and Hitpodesha. While the themes are common about a woman cheating on her spouse, the scripting is crafty yet simple.

Each story has its share of wit, tittilation and a nice twist in the end. An old hand at writing, director Vinay Shukla has executed his thoughts with perfection. The photography is apt with locations exploited to the maximum. The music blends with the atmosphere while dialogues are peppy.

Performance wise, while Arunoday Singh gets in to the skin of all five characters with ease, Boman Irani, playing the Sindhi businessman, is convincing. Raima Sen, Konkona Sen Sharma, Rajpal Yadav and Prem Chopra are good. Ila Arun is natural. Shahana Goswami and Sushant Singh give good support.

Mirch, a watchable film, aimed at the gentry and multiplex audience, lacks due promotion; it has prospects to have a lasting value on video and satellite circuits.

Much ado about nothing

Producer: Sangeeth Sivan Productions P Ltd.
Writer-Director: Mahesh Pandey.
Cast: Ali Asgar, Chetan Pandit, Vijay Mishra, Sharbani Mukherjee

MUMBAI: Sangeeth Sivan‘s 332 Mumbai To India is an issue-based film.

Taking a leaf out of an incident of a Bihari boy hijacking a public transport bus in Mumbai,the film goes into those few months of discomforting equations between local Maharashtrians and people from UP and Bihar coming to Mumbai for a livelihood.

Rather than weaving a story around the incident (a la A Wednesday!), the film is a recreation of it. How it affects a few other people’s lives forms the crux of the film.

The air is already thick as workers from Bihar and UP are attacked by local Marathi speaking people when a provoked youth from Bihar hijacks a BEST bus in a Mumbai suburb.

As the driver and others from the lower deck desert the bus, those in the upper deck are held captive at gun point. Among other passengers travelling in the bus, there is also a couple -- Bihari boy and a Marathi girl -- on their way to seek her parents’ approval to marry.

The incident also affects a father in Bihar who is glued to the TV set watching news, hoping it is not his son who did it. A hostel toughie targets a Marathi speaking student in Benaras to avenge the incident happening back in Mumbai and a Muslim rickshaw driver has his rickshaw smashed and gets severely beaten up.

With a thin storyline and nothing much to build on, the scenes become repetitive as they shift from character to character caught in the milieu. After all, how many times can you see a gun totting youth with no solid agenda scaring a few people in a bus or a tense father staring at a TV set to identify the boy or a Marathi student in UP being glared at?

So neutral is the script that it finally ends up conveying nothing. The performances are passable.

A film based on news headlines does not work with our audience and the precedents are aplenty. 332 Mumbai To India only adds to the tally.

Kaalo: A horrible horror film

Producers: Yash Patnaik, Mamta Patnaik.
Writer- Director: Wilson Louis.
Cast: Swini Khara, Adtya Srivastav, Paintal

MUMBAI: Kaalo is said to be world‘s first daylight horror film.

Described as a creature based horror film and shot around Jaisalmer, it is about a witch who resurfaced two centuries after she was killed and buried.

Her quest is for the young and nubile girls who, when sacrificed, would give it immortality.

The village Kulbhata, which the witch Kaalo haunts, has been deserted and no one dares pass along the village road.

However, a passenger bus with some travellers is compelled to take the route when the main road is closed. Also travelling on the bus is the 12-year-old Swini Khara who becomes Kaalo’s target. Kaalo attacks the bus and kills its travellers till only Swini and Aditya Srivastav survive.

The initial scenes of Kaalo slithering through sands and taking people off guard have an impact. But as Kaalo kills its victims one after the other, things become monotonous. Visually, Kaalo looks like a giant sized bat which except carrying off people, does not scare enough.

Director Wilson Louis shows his passion for the horror genre and has effectively used special effects. This makes the film interesting. The background score is effective and the cinematography is good. Of the cast, Swini Khara impresses while the rest are just about passable.

All said, Kaalo is an experiment on Indian film buffs who have yet to cultivate the taste for the horror genre.

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