By Movie Talkies, 29 November 2008
Onir has always chosen to make the kind of films that he wanted to, be it a My Brother Nikhil or Bas Ek Pal. With his third film, Sorry Bhai, he again treads a new territory and defies a lot of norms and conventions. The film comes with a tagline that says ‘Come fall in love with your brother's wife,' which should be indication enough about the film's subject and story. One is however, not really sure about whether the audience will lap this up or not.
The film's USP is its brilliant cast of players. Beginning with Shabana Azmi to Boman Irani, to Sharman Joshi and Chitrangada Singh, the performances and their amazing presences, really lifts the film by quite a few notches. But what really lets the film down is its screenplay, which really never makes things very clear. The movie's crux is supposedly the attraction that develops between Chitrangada's and Sharman's characters in the movie. But there are absolutely no clues in the movie itself about when love strikes the two. The film is very inconsistent and makes sense in fits and starts only. What has really been well established in the movie, is the family dynamics.
The family consists of Siddharth (Sharman Joshi), a shy, scientist, who is traveling to Mauritius along with his parents, Shabana Azmi and Boman Irani. They are going to attend Harsh (Sanjay Suri), his elder brother's wedding to Aaliya (Chitrangada). The mother is not very happy at the turn of events as Harsh has not bothered to inform them in advance about the wedding. He just calls and tells them that he is getting married. Her anger at him results in her taking an instant dislike to Aaliya. Once in Mauritius, Harsh finds little time to spend with his family. Hence it is left to Aaliya to show the family around the island. It is supposedly here, that Aaliya and Siddharth are fatally attracted to each other. Aaliya too has been feeling neglected by Harsh and decides to act on her attraction for Siddharth by actively pursuing him while he continues to fight off her advances and the attraction. Finally, the mother starts getting suspicious and hell breaks loose.
The film's story is interesting but it fails to pan out in an interesting manner. The screenplay seems to be the villain here. But despite the obvious loopholes in the screenplay and its inconsistency, Onir manages to reveal his masterly touch and leaves his stamp on many of the sequences in the film. The bond between the brothers and the hostility between Shabana's character and Aaliya is very brilliantly brought out. Also very well etched and enacted are the sequences between Shabana and Boman, as the parents of the two men. But Onir seems to bungle up the manner in which he arrives at the conclusion.
Of course, the actors are to be credited for the manner in which they have actually managed to rise above the script and come up with superb performances. Leading from the front is Sharman Joshi, who plays the shy, younger brother, who falls in love with his brother's fiancée, to perfection. Chitrangada too pitches in with a very natural performance. She looks brilliant and is more than able to hold her own against the rest of the cast, specially Shabana, with whom she shares a few crucial sequences. Shabana is in a class by herself and she unleashes her powerful acting prowess once more in this movie. She is brilliantly supported by Boman, who unfortunately has very little meat in his role. Sanjay Suri, as Harsh, the elder brother, too has very little to do in the movie. But being a more than competent actor, he is very effective in all his appearances.
The cinematography of the movie is very good. Mauritius has been very well canned with its picturesque beauty, the water, the beaches etc. The music of the movie is pleasant. The production values of the film are high as well. But somehow, the film does not come across as a very coherent story. And one feels, that it is that, more than its subject matter, which lets down Onir's Sorry Bhai.