Rating: **** ( 4 stars)
In his latest directorial venture the prolific and insightful directorOnirprobes wounds that neverheal. Thelove that grows between two woundedpeople trappedin the numbing bustleofthe metropolisKolkata this time,it was Delhi in Onirs previous filmShabis not uncharted territory in the cinema of emotional diaspora thatOnirhas constantly explored andAnuragBasualso examined with scrupulousintegrity inLife In A Metro.
InKuchBheegeAlfaaz(KBA) the traditional tearfulness associated with the emotions of hurt, pain, betrayal,isolation and guiltyes, all ofthese emotions are compressedinto Onirs latestarealchemizedinto a warm-hearted frothy but never frivolous look at howcraggilyman-woman relationships pan out inthecity.
There isa lot of ping in the pain of mutually shared hurt between the pair as they exchange messages on the phone thatthey find very entertaining.
Onirshoots his love stories in the pitiless heart-land where hesucceeds in ferretingouta bedrock ofcompassion whilehis protagonists, melancholicbutsmiling misfits of the metropolis,strugglewith their isolation and suffering. InKBA,Alfaazsuffers in abundance for a guilty secret that heharbours from his teens.
Hint: itis to do with apretty bright 15-year old girlChhaviplayedShefaliChauhan.
ItsAlfaazs good fortune that hismisfortune isportrayedbyan abundantly emotive new actor.ZainKhanDurraniismost decidedly a prizedfind. His command over his characters ditheringemotional graph is impressive. His command over the Urdu language and thesher-o-shayarithat his RJs character isinsistently required to spill into the scanty screenplay, is even more impressive, specially in todays cinema where our heroes think in English.
Zainwith his restrainedruminative romanticism,makes you overlook the films bleakerbits , the repetitive use of thewhatsappthemetodrive in the point of how contemporary relationships are driven in to the zone of tenability on theSmartphone.Aftera point those pingson the screen just begin to seemannoying.
The lead pair keeps our attentionfrom flagging. IfZainis every bit the dreamyRJwith a nightmare tucked in his heart,GeetanjaliThapa(so brilliant in the unreleasedLiars Dice)as the sunshine girl witha skin ailment,getsinto the skin of her character,though some of the scripts attempts to scrub her conscience clean of all self-pity is way too tactless(a blind date who keeps digging hisnose, for example,hardly makes for aconvincing case of self-worth for the girl with the skin ailment).
ZainandThaparkeep us watching. Zains voice playing acrosstheradio waves gives the narrative a romantic heft that the film may have otherwise lacked. The supporting cast is also well-woven into the script. MonaAmbegaonkaras Thapas feisty mother andShreyRaiTiwarias Thapas best friend with anosymotherserve potentially hackneyed roles with an empathy that goes a long into making the core romance convincing at times even sublime.
The filmsKolkatalocations are solidly shot byNusratJafrito capture acity trapped betweenan evaporating traditional edificeand a rapidly developing urbanization. SignificantlyKuchBheegeAlfaazendsnot inKolkatabut scenicsilent sereneSimlawith the films most memorable momentof empathywhere ZainsAlfaazis shown resting his weary guilt-ridden head on the shoulder ofa grandfatherly figure.
Themoment expresses a stirring mix of regret andhope, the kind of emotional synthesis that werarely get in todays cinema . Cherish it.
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