Monday, September 15, 2008

Paheli


Rating : 7/10
Running Time : 134 Minutes
Release Date : June ‘05
Director : Amol Palekar ; Vijayadan Detha ; Music : MM Kreem and Adesh Shrivastava
Starring : Shahrukh Khan, Rani Mukherjee, Anupam Kher, Juhi Chawla


I think as far as unusual plots go, this one takes the cake. Rani Mukherjee’s wedding procession stops to rest at a banyan tree, which in legend and in reality is inhabited by ghosts. One becomes infatuated by her. The next day, when her husband (Shahrukh Khan), leaves for a five year business trip and also stops at the same tree to rest, the ghost see’s its chance, assumes his likeness and lands up at Rani’s house, with the real husband carrying on to Gujarat to set up his business there.

Now, in the part that I liked the most, the ghost makes an honest confession to Rani (about him being a ghost etc) prior to beginning physical intimacies with her. And a distraught Rani chooses five years of companionship from an infatuated ghost vs five years of loneliness from a daddy’s boy and accounts obsessed flesh and blood husband. All this takes place within 20 minutes or so of the start and most of the rest of the movie is about how their relationship develops, how he gets his dominating and money minded dad (Anupam Kher) to agree to several things and then finally what happens when the real husband lands up after five years.

It’s a story nicely told, moves along at a nice pace and doesn’t dwell too long on any one sub-plot. It doesn’t get soppy with the ghost/Rani love story, nor does it become completely around Shahrukh charming the rest of the household or about the real husband’s dismay at being completely forgotten by his family as obviously, no one writes or visits him. It blends these three pieces quite well and gives a nice contrast between the real and the ghostly Shahrukh, as also the intricacies of a ‘baniya’ household where clearly money rules the roost. Where else would a newly wed husband agree to leave the next day after marriage (because Dad said so and it’s a very auspicious time) or refuse to consummate their marriage on their wedding night (because Mom said why ignite physical passion when there is to be five years of separation).

Having said all that, I didn’t like the end. It was too obvious and also the whole drama with the goatherd etc was unnecessary. I wish there had been some other twist added here, some spark. The viewers obviously have to park their skepticism against ghosts to one side and also not ask other ‘real’ questions like if the ghosts could assume any identity and was not tied up to the tree, then pray, why was he permanently inhabiting the tree till Rani came along. Cast these doubts aside and immerse yourself in a nice, little story (apparently derived from a classic Rajasthani folktale), set in a world very different from the one we inhabit everyday.

5 comments:

Differently Challenged said...

I usually agree with you, to the T. I check your review before watching a movie, just to check whether it is worth my money or not.
But this is one, where we disagree. I found the movie too superficial, obsessing over the pretty dresses, and serving just as an excuse to show the "ethnic stuff" as a friend had described it. I think Amol palekar has made much better films, and this was his "commercial break" to work with stars, and to get an return on his investment, he had to compromise on his aesthetic sense.

Apurv Nagpal said...

i agree with you - its very commercial (the appearances of Suneil Shetty and Amitabh are clear pointers towards that). But i just found the whole idea, the plot itself, really fascinating. And SRK was better, not so over the top as usual. Its a 6 or a 7 as far as i'm concerned...that range...
thx
Apurv

rhythm fadia said...

hey...good to hear your take on paheli...one of the movies i did like but thought it would have been better if some unnecessary songs were edited...i thought it was a different movie, than those we see these days...also SRK was good...i mean even with the same make up and outfits.he manages the smart look (of the ghost) and the dumb look (of the husband really well....also the ending was too long....over all i felt it would be good if it were a 2 hour movie..am glad u gave it a 7...we sure do agree :)

Bivas said...

release date is not 2008 :-)
Comingto the review, even I liked this movie when it had...however, when the actors themselves do not believe in the plot...it is a problem...SRK has himself said time and again that this is one mopvie he would avoid doing again given a chance!

Apurv Nagpal said...

hi ! bivas
date corrected, thx