I have seen Rahul Bose as a young man playing Rugby at “Bombay Gymkhana” and hanging with his buddies, where I used to work as a part-time waiter during the mid 80’s working my way through college. Short in stature but ruggedly handsome, poised and dignified, there was something about him that stood out from others. Glad to see him succeed as an accomplished actor.
About the movie: Set in the back ground of communal violence, these two strangers, Meenakshi and Raja meet up by chance on a ride to a common destination. Fate brings them closer to each other in the form of a cranky crying child which also saves Raja’s(Rahul) life. Although Raja seems reluctant and aloof initially, he gels with them seeing her plight trying to juggle a crying child, glaring seatmate and annoying fellow riders.
Raja, a compassionate, modern gentleman,yet a little arrogant, puts his life in line to keep a promise to his friend and Meenakshi’s father, to ensure that she and her child have a safe passage through the curfew and the riots. He is drawn towards her in spite of the fact that she is married with a child and has a chip on her shoulder.
Meenakshi ( Konkana) traditional, devoted to her family and child but drawn to Raja for everything he is to her and her child during the crisis, shows superb emotions and body language depicting the anguish and growing sexual tension between them. Like the young ladies with the excursion group point out, she looks too young to be a mother and there is an inner child in her which yearns to get out and act out her emotions openly with Raja.
The scene where they witness a man’s throat being slashed from the forest bungalow is executed beautifully and professionally with a lot of emotions. Dialogues are meaningful and precise. Similarly during the train ride the scenes were acted out refreshingly perfect, without the usual overacting and melodrama seen in Bollywood movies.
One thing that I found that was missing was, he never thanks her for saving his life, if it wasn’t for Meenakshi thrusting the crying child on Raja’s lap when the two fanatics were hunting for Muslim victims, and she readily answering to their query of what their names were with “Mr. and Mrs. Iyer”, he would have been caught, if they had him pull down his pants ( you know what I mean). Maybe I am over analyzing, but that is my take on that one. Just like Lieutenant Dan ( Gary Sinese) never thanks Gump ( Tom Hanks) for saving his life in ” Forrest Gump”, till the very end of the movie.
The movie is in English, with none of the phony accents, spoken perfectly like how Indian speak. We tend to forget that India was a British colony for 400 years, English is the common language that brings all of India together, with all of its 18 languages and boneheaded political decision of splitting up the states linguistically after independence from the British rule.
Music is so-so, did not care much about the songs. Maybe if I watch it a few more times, which I intent to, I might change my mind about Zakir Hussain’s music, which I immensely admire. In conclusion, a beautiful and powerful story with a lot of subtle underlying messages, humanity for one.
*Originally posted at passionforcinema.com/cletterman*