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Kuch Bheege Alfaaz Movie Review: Onir’s Most Languorous & Tender Film Introduces A Hero Worth Watching!



Starring: Zain Khan Durrani, Gitanjali Thapar

Directed by: Onir

Rating: **** ( 4 stars)

In his latest directorial venture the prolific and insightful director Onir probes wounds that never  heal. The  love that grows between two wounded  people trapped  in the numbing bustle  of  the metropolis—Kolkata this time,  it was Delhi in Onir’s previous film Shab—is not uncharted territory in the cinema of emotional diaspora that Onir has constantly explored and Anurag Basu also examined with scrupulous  integrity in  Life In A Metro.

In  Kuch Bheege Alfaaz(KBA) the traditional tearfulness associated with the emotions of hurt, pain, betrayal,isolation and guilt—yes, all of  these emotions are compressed  into Onir’s latest—are alchemized into a warm-hearted frothy but never frivolous look at how craggily man-woman relationships pan out in  the  city.

There is  a lot of ‘ping’ in the pain of mutually shared hurt between the pair as they exchange messages on the phone that  they find very entertaining.

Onir shoots his love stories in the pitiless heart-land where he  succeeds in ferreting  out  a bedrock of  compassion while  his protagonists, melancholic  but  smiling misfits of the metropolis,   struggle  with their isolation and suffering. In KBA , Alfaaz suffers in abundance for a guilty secret that he  harbours from his teens.

Hint: it  is to do with a  pretty bright 15-year old girl Chhavi  played Shefali Chauhan.

It’s  Alfaaz’s good fortune that his  misfortune is  portrayed  by  an abundantly emotive new actor. Zain Khan Durrani is  most decidedly a prized  find. His command over his character’s dithering  emotional graph is impressive. His command over the Urdu language and the sher-o-shayari that his RJ’s character is  insistently required to spill into the scanty screenplay, is even more impressive, specially in today’s cinema where our heroes “think” in English.

   Zain with his restrained  ruminative romanticism,  makes you overlook the film’s bleaker  bits , the repetitive use of the whatsapp theme  to  drive in the point of how contemporary relationships are driven in to the zone of tenability on the Smartphone.After  a point those pings  on the screen just begin to seem  annoying.

The lead pair keeps our attention  from flagging. If Zain is every bit the dreamy RJ with a nightmare tucked in his heart, Geetanjali Thapa(so brilliant in the unreleased Liars Dice)as the sunshine girl with  a skin ailment,gets  into the skin of her character,though some of the script’s attempts to scrub her conscience clean of all self-pity is way too tactless(a blind date who keeps digging his  nose, for example,hardly makes for a convincing case of self-worth for the girl with the skin ailment).

 Zain and Thapar  keep us watching. Zain’s voice playing across  the  radio waves gives the narrative a romantic heft that the film may have otherwise lacked. The supporting cast is also well-woven into the script. MonaAmbegaonkar as Thapa’s feisty mother and Shrey Rai Tiwari as Thapa’s best friend with a  nosy mother  serve potentially hackneyed roles with an empathy that goes a long into making the core romance convincing at times even sublime.

 The film’s Kolkata locations are solidly shot by Nusrat Jafri to capture a  city trapped between  an evaporating traditional edifice  and a rapidly developing urbanization. Significantly Kuch Bheege Alfaaz ends  not inKolkata but scenic  silent serene Simla with the film’s most memorable moment  of empathy  where Zain’s Alfaaz is shown resting his weary guilt-ridden head on the shoulder of  a grandfatherly figure.

 The  moment expresses a stirring mix of regret and  hope, the kind of emotional synthesis that we  rarely get in today’s cinema . Cherish it.

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