Refreshing Story with a Very Labored Treatment
By MovieTalkies.com, 11 July 2009
Director Arup Dutta makes a very sincere effort in his maiden Hindi film, Morning Walk. The film has a story to tell and the director labors to tell it well. The best part about the movie, is that it has a definite story to tell, one that is not a run the mill kinds, but one which is emotionally moving. Another wonderful thing about the movie is the presence of veteran actors Sharmila Tagore and Anupam Kher, who lift the movie with their mature and dignified performances. However, the film's screenplay runs into a few problems as the director is not able to flesh out his story very satisfactorily, leaving quite a few loopholes in the screenplay. Also, there are quite a few clichés that he resorts to, especially in the portrayal of the 'wicked daughter in law', which takes away from the film's freshness and novelty.
Joymohan is a retired professor, who suddenly realizes that he needs to be near his family when he suffers a heart attack. He heads to Mumbai and comes to live with his only son Indra (Rajat Kapoor), his daughter in law Rita (Divya Dutta) and granddaughter Gargi (Avika Gaur). It is on one of his morning walks that he bumps into Neelima, a retired teacher herself, with who he had had a relationship many, many years ago in his youth. The reason for the breakup is never clear in the movie. Neelima has a daughter Anjali (Nargis), the result of her love affair with Joymohan. The past comes alive as the two meet and Joymohan is torn between his love for his family and his guilt towards Neelima. Couched in between is the love story of Anjali and her boyfriend, played by Shayan Munshi. Also finding a place in the narrative is the insensitive manner in which Rita treats her old father in law. The past hangs like a shadow over both families when the truth about Anjali's birth comes out.
The relationship between Kher and Tagore is brought out very sensitively by the director. But there are far too many questions which are left unanswered by the film as to the nature of their relationship in the past and why they broke up. The other problem that the film grapples with is the fact that the director is trying to say too many things at the same time. He wants to talk about senior citizens, hence the wicked daughter in law, and the love story between Nargis and Shayan. The film, thus, ends up meandering form one sub plot to the next and tends to drag after a point of time. The young love story feels fake and like an unwanted intrusion. Matters are not helped by the arrival of the badly timed songs.
But the presence of Kher and Tagore seems to be one of the redeeming features of the film. Once they are on screen, you feel like watching much more of them. The two senior actors share a very understated chemistry which works well for the movie. The two veterans have performed very well and given a fresh touch to their portrayals.
As for the rest of the cast, despite playing the much blamed wicked daughter in law, Divya Dutta manages to rise above the clichés and deliver a strong performance. Surprisingly, Rajat Kapoor seems to be wasted in his role as the doting son. It is not a well fleshed out character and he has little to do in the scheme of things. Avika Gaur, a sensation on television, also has little scope to showcase her histrionics. Nargis and Shayan Munshi as the young lovers are a little trying.
The film's music by Jeet Ganguli is quite soothing but not exceptional. The film stands put because of the performances by Tagore and Kher and its unique story. But its biggest drawback is its meandering screenplay, which takes away from the intensity of the relationship between Joymohan and Neelima, who form the crux of the movie. At the end of the day, Morning Walk is a very labored effort.