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Birthday Song Is A Thriller In Pursuit Of Relentless Thrills: Movie Review



My Birthday Song

Starring Sanjay Suri, Nora Fatehi, Zenia Starr

Directed by Samir Soni

Rating: ***(3 Stars)

Actor Samir Soni  turns director with a  stylish erotic thriller about a man who on his 40th birthday gets his wish –a tumble in the hay with young sexy hot babe , which sets off a  spiraling motion into his  life.

No Fatal Attraction, this. Though evidently fatally attracted to the theme of a  married man destroyed by a one-night stand.SanjaySuri,always underplayed and affable,plays Rajeev, a hotshot ad filmmaker . The selfconsciously stylishly done-up film begins with Rajeev’s birthday party where he is introduced to  a young woman who is everything that a 40-year old  married man should avoid,  specially after a few drinks.

But then, horny ko kaun taal sakta hai?

In no time  the sexually rampant  man  and  the seductive stranger are in the  bedroom, the birthday cake  along with the party, forgotten  in  the next room. There  are more important things  to blow than candles.

There is an innate clumsiness in the way love-making scenes are shot in Hindi films and there is no escape from that sexual awkwardness in this film even if it is not technically a  Hindi film. The characters speak in English most of the time.They glide around in sleek polished  7-star luxury with gleaming surfaces and sparkling teeth suggesting a life far removed from the grim reality of the Indian middleclass.

My Birthday Song  is  a goodlooking film. For a first-time  directorSamir Soni seems  to  grasp the secret of audiences’ collective gasp. He  goes about the business of developing his leading man’s attraction towards the forbidden fruit in scenes that suggest an erotic doom, an impending libidinous  catastrophe.

It would be unjust to describe the twists and turns that propel the pulsating  pounding plot forward. A lot  of the episodes that are piled on in pursuit of heightened anxiety seems ersatz. But the pseudo-momentum is maintained ,it helps to keep us glued  to the goings on.

 There is a  constant feeling of  ‘What next?’in us even though the  outcome is not always satisfactory.Suspense thrillers are  killers only when they wrap up the messy proceedings with conviction. Here  My Birthday Song gets an ambivalent nod from us. The wrap-up is  so designed to shock that it simply collapses  under the weight of its own  summoned urgency.

While Sanjay Suri holds  up the proceedings with a looming semblance  of believability  the  rest of  the cast loiters  in the background waiting for the director to find a definitive place  for them. The  talented Pitobash shows  towards the end as a car mechanic spouting ominous dialogues  like, ‘A man must pay for his sins.’If you’ve seen what  Sanjay Suri  has done in  the earlier scenes, his discomfort under scrutiny is understandable.

While Nora Fatehi remains largely clueless  about her  one-night stand with a  man she hardly knows  beyond  a quickie that shared years ago, Zenia Starr who plays Suri’s wife is surprisingly persuasive  in her confrontational sequence with her husband .

Handsomely mounted this  tale  of  urban infidelity is fuelled by the  paranoiac fear  that grips all successful  organizational executives. Have I done  something that  may catch up with me  today?Weinstein, please claim credit.

My Birthday Song struts its polished demeanour like  a badge  of honour.  It has its slack passages. But most  of  the time we are  absorbed  in  the  goings-on waiting to see how Sanjay Suri gets out  of the mess. The narrative gives him elbow room to  seek an exit.Then pulls  the rug from  under his feet, leaving us with  a feeling that the  scriptwriter wanted  us on the edge  right till the end.

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