Rating : 7/10
Release Date : 21st February, 2014
Time : 133 minutes
Director, Writer : Imtiaz Ali; Music : A R Rahman
Starring : Alia Bhatt, Randeep Hooda, Durgesh Kumar
Its voyages of self-discovery that seem to move the needle for Imtiaz Ali – with films like Jab We Met, Love Aaj Kal, Rockstar and now this one, he seems fascinated by the confused lives well-to-do people lead, of their search for what and who makes them tick.
This is probably the strangest one of the three – a rich girl being unintentionally kidnapped around her wedding day – and then after a while, developing a bond with her kidnappers, enjoying a life of ‘freedom’ vs her normal constraint laden life. Of course, you also get some gorgeous visuals, a pulsating background score, some lovely, touching moments and also a strange, bittersweet end…but I found it an interesting watch, albeit not one I would be rushing to the theatres to view again.
It does drag a bit – there are almost more shots of our countryside than of the actors. Some of the scenes seem contrived. Some deliberately manipulated to wring some emotion out of us. Some unrealistic. And some, especially the topic of child molestation, downright uncomfortable.
It’s the unlikely lead pair, though, of Alia and Randeep (who else in the film industry would’ve dared to make a film with almost only these two ?) who make the movie watchable. Alia is far from the finished article but would encourage her to do more such roles than the candy floss, sugar coated bimbette role she chose to launch her career with. She gets it right here. You connect with her – even if not with everything she does – she makes you laugh, appreciate her predicament, sympathize with her as she grows in confidence as the film progresses. An excellent effort for someone in only her second film. And that dance sequence to the mash-up was just amazing, with full marks to Durgesh Kumar for his role in it !
Randeep scowls through most of the film and it’s a testament to his acting skills that he still makes you feel for him. Life hasn’t been kind to him, and the kidnapping, where the girl he has grabbed to save his skin, turns out to be the daughter of a well-connected, powerful man, is just another of fate’s unkind twists. Both he and Alia carry a deep secret / regret in their lives too, and just how deep, we discover through the film.
It was interesting to see a body language coach in the credits – he certainly did his job – Randeep’s squat, the way he wore a blanket around himself, the limp, lifeless way he walks around – was all spot on, as were the sights and sounds of driving around the highways of our gorgeous country. The tea stalls, the music, the fields, the eating places, the helpful people and the beautiful natural beauty around us. If nothing else, this one is going to make you want to go on a long drive !