Ranjish Hi Sahi(Voot Select, 8 Episodes)
Starring Tahir Raj Bhasin,Amala Paul, Amrita Puri
Directed by Pushpdeep Bhardwaj
Rating: * ½
There is a watchman played by an unrecognizable Uday Chandra who is not really a watchman, whom our filmmaker-hero Shankar, who is actually Mahesh Bhatt in a hideous wig, wants to kill…
…Or so he says to the watchman(who is not a watchman but a man who repairs watches, get it?). But Shankar doesn’t really want to kill thw watchman. He actually loves the man to death.
Nothing is what it seems in Ranjish Hi Sahi. It’s all maya,illusion. The film’s severely disturbed heroine is NOT Parveen Babi. She is a seriously disturbed actress named Amna Parvez, so blindly and obsessively in love with ‘Shankar’(Mahesh) that she can’t tell his left testicle from the right.
That’s not Parveen Babi. And that poster up there is not Amar Akbar Anthony . It is Ajay Anwar Albert. How cool is that. And no, that’s not Amitabh Bachchan ‘Amna’(Parveen) is shooting with.In one specially distasteful recreation of a real-life incident we can see a seriously ill Amna going blank during the shooting of a dance number and falling to the ground.This was Parveen Babi’s eternal chartbuster Pyar karne wale from Ramesh Sippy’s Shaan being recreated for the sake of cheap thrills.
Zarina Wahab, the best of the actors in this series, struggles to give voice to Shankar/Mahesh’s Muslim mother’s role. Here is a woman who “pretended” to be Hindu all her life for her deserter-husband’s sake. Like I said, nothing is as it seems in this series. We saw Pooja Bhatt and Nagarjuna play the same roles in Mahesh Bhatt’s Zakham 23 years ago.
The brazenly cannibalized characters just don’t know where to stop. They are representational of a very tragic mental breakdown that happened to the very beautiful Parveen Babi. The series, stretching into 8 langorous laboured episodes of Bollywood gossip and cinema folklore is populated with actors in ill-fitting costumes that are meant to belong to the 1970s. The mindsets and dialogues belong to the stone age with evil characters shouting that the “paagal aurat” should be administered “current ke do chaar jhatke.”
No current thoughts are allowed entry into this primitive take on Husband, Wife and Other Woman , in this case a woe-man destined to endless pulp interpretations all designed to show her in the most unflattering light.All I could say at the end of this cheesy clunky non-lather soap opera is…Rahem karo! Spare Parveen Babi and us from such wretched perverse one-sided interpretations of a stormy relationship .
This sickeningly derivative serial wants us to believe that Mahesh/Shankar was just a poor helpless victim whom the schizophrenic heroine threw herself on. But the way Tahir Raj Bhasin plays Shankar(a.k.a Mahesh Bhatt) the entire relationship seems like a convenient arrangement between a struggling director and a successful actress.
Bhasin lacks even the basic charm required to make him look convincing as a lover, let alone desirable.Amala Paul as the pseudo-Parveen struggles with the mind demons of the real character drawing blank most of the time.Her inadequacies as a dramatic actress are most apparent in her scenes with Shankar’s wife Anju(Amrita Puri).
In the last episode Amna Parvez shows up at Anju’s doorstep, all wild-eyed and spaced-out. Puri in trying to look sympathetic ends up looking as though she is trying hard to suppress her giggles. What a grotesque parody of the sequence in Mahesh Bhatt’s Arth where Smita Patil playing the emotionally wrecked mistress pretends to pick up the beads of wife Shabana Azmi’s mangalsutra from the floor.
Ranjish Hi Sahi tries hard to pick up the broken pieces of a fractured fucked-up relationship that should have been buried and left untouched. Instead the series is one more attempt to tell us that Parveen Babi was a nutcase and Mahesh Bhatt was the victim.
We hear you.