Friday, October 10, 2008


Rating : 8/10
Running Time : 130 Minutes
Release Date : June ‘2005
Director & Co-writer : Pradeep Sarkar; Writer : Vidhu Vinod Chopra, Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay (author, 1914 novella) ; Music : Shantanu Moitra
Starring : Saif Ali Khan, Sanjay Dutt, Vidya Balan, Raima Sen, Dia Mirza

This is a film that reminds us of the strange capacity we humans have to seek unhappiness. We may have everything, all the people we love around us, yet we find ways to make ourselves miserable. Parineeta (translation : The Married Woman, based on Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay’s classic novella) is a tragedy of sorts but not one that’s excessively gloomy or depressing.

It describes the relationship between Shekhar (Saif) and Lolita (Vidya Balan’s debut), inseparable friends & neighbours despite the class gap that yawns between them. Saif is a musically inclined rich kid in a household that is dominated ruthlessly by his businessman father. He loves the piano, keeps trying to compose new tunes and describes himself less as a businessman, more a musician. He finds, right from childhood, an able companion in arms in Lolita. She is the daughter of a middle class, out of work / almost retired father, is a natural at music (according to Shekhar) and is the life and soul of her household (competent, efficient and yet fun). She and Shekhar enjoy a great rapport, to the extent that he gives her the keys to his cupboard and she is free to take money (petty cash) whenever she needs it, without asking for permission.

There are two major events that occur in the film. First is a loan that Shekhar’s father gives to Lolita’s when he needed money and in return gets their house, which is worth much more than the loan amount, as collateral. Lolita’s father knows, especially since he is out of a job, that there is a slim chance of him returning the money and so it weighs heavily on him and his other family members. The other is the arrival of Girish (Sanjay Dutt), the brother of another neighbour, a businessman from London (owns steel mills), a quiet, soft-spoken yet full of life person, who falls head over heels for Lolita. Most importantly, his arrival also causes the equations between Shekhar’s and Lolita’s households to change. To what extent, you’ll have to watch to find out…

Parineeta is one of the movies where every actor fits their part perfectly – you cannot imagine any other actor in their roles. However, even more rarely, you also find it difficult to imagine that actor in any other role, so credible are all the performances. I remember feeling the same way, many years ago, when I saw Dustin Hoffman in Rainman – I ran out to get another Dustin movie as soon as it finished as I couldn’t imagine him as anything but an autistic savant. Sanjay’s portrayal of Girish is so nicely done (I rate this as one of his finest performances) that you cannot imagine him anymore as a gangster or ruffian. Vidya Balan is excellent as Lolita, fits the part of a Bengali beauty effortlessly and Saif gives the first hints of his true acting abilities with his role as Shekhar. Even Dia Mirza plays her part as rich, spoilt kid with nonchalance – the joke about the 6 cooks or 12 was brilliantly told.

Parineeta almost seems like a musical score, with a certain lyrical quality to it. It begins with a flourish, is sweet and innocent at first, has a beautiful mid-piece and then ends with a fitting crescendo. It makes for compulsive viewing, with a lovely recreation of Calcutta in the 60’s and 70’s. Enjoy.


rhythm fadia-maniar said...

totally agree...loved parineeta.....waiting for ur Review on HELLO

Tarun Shekhar Pande said...

A girl in love trying to maintain the selfrespect of his family and his lover.
-----great movie to watch-------