An Interesting Idea Gone Wrong
By MovieTalkies.com, 13 June 2008
Many a times we see films which make us look at our watches praying for the film to end; very rarely do you see a film which you think is just about to end and a new twist occurs to prolong the film. Summer 2007 falls into the second category and unfortunately the false endings hit you not once, but thrice, making you wonder why what could have been a crisp two hour film, has been stretched into a three hour subplot ridden "khichdi".
The film starts well with a scene indicating that rural suicides will somewhere fit into the plot, while quickly shifting to urban India where a group of five private medical college students are introduced. Setting up the fact that today's rich youths are oblivious to the problems that plague rural India and that although the future of politics is in their hands, most of them are uninterested in evoking change is carried forward well, but stretched beyond requirement. Hence the entire first half of the film is spend on the set up these five characters (Sikander Kher, Gul Panang, Yuvika Chaudhry, Arjan Bajwa and Alekh Sangal) with nothing substantial happening in the plot. Also there are certain unbelievable things like how can a student who is campaigning for elections just leave for rural medical camp without fulfilling the election responsibilities, along with the entire suicide note sequence without any inquiry which makes you believe that after spending over 75 minutes on establishing the characters in the medical college, director Suhail Tatari is in a rush to get them into the rural setting. Once in the village, the director should have stuck to one issue, but instead tries to interconnect too many plots which results in preachy speeches, inane characters, confusing plot and an inability to connect with the proceedings. Even the love conflict within the love story needn't have been there. The story would have been just as effective if Rahul and Priyanka had been a happy couple and would have probably made their romance more believable because their conflict or resolution is never really explained.
Farmer suicides, corrupt money lenders who take advantage of villagers, corrupt cops and politicians, micro financing, Naxalies, a confused female cop, a defunct love story... the list of subplots is endless which is what distracts and makes the film fail miserably. Even sadder is the fact that the basic premise of the story was good and Suhail is a proficient storyteller and even executes well, but botches it up by trying to do too much. The film did not need to be about a movement; every film doesn't have to be Rang De Basanti.
What makes the film bearable, are the performances, quite surprising since the film is filled with mostly new comers. Sikander Kher is not conventionally good looking, nor is he in any way a convention "hero", yet there is an unmistakable screen presence and a bundle of talent in him. The biggest surprises are Yuvika and Arjan; Yuvika had early done a brief appearance in Om Shanti Om while Arjan the same in Guru. Both newcomers perform with supreme confidence, and have striking screen presence, especially Yuvika, although her makeup was bit loud throughout. Alekh was apt but Gul was slightly disappointing simply because she didn't really have much to do and hence couldn't add much to the characters. Ashutosh Rana is dependable as usual. Of the songs, only Jaaniye is worth remembering as the rest of the songs should have easily been edited out.
You are left feeling that had Suhail stuck to just one key plot, the film could have truly been a memorable one. Alas, you can give this a miss, unless you want to see the sparking performances of a set of newcomers who are set to take Bollywood by storm.