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Rogan Josh Movie Review:It is A Short Film That Is All Heart But Little Substance

Rogan  Josh(Short Film)

Starring: Naseeruddin Shah, Avantika Akerkar, Shishir Sharma

Directed  by: Sanjeev Wig

Rating: **(2 stars)

26/11  has spawned many works of art, some memorable, others chilling …Some neither. This all-heart-no-substance  short-film  falls in  the  ‘neither’ category . It is big in intentions but falls flat in execution, as the  IDEA of   the tragedy underlining the plot overtakes  the onscreen proceedings, which appear reasonably interesting to begin with.

We gather  in  a few seconds of the pungent kitchen conversation with the wife(Avantika Akerkar)  that Naseeruddin Shah  is amasterchef at a posh hotel. His speciality is the rogan josh. The entire family seems  smitten  by the mutton. But alas the telling of the grave story  lacks gravy. The narrative is dry and selfconscious, as though the  director’s brief was  to convey the grief caused  by the attack on theTaj  on that fateful November day.

The film is  shot as  a dinnertable  conversation.Lots  of furtive anxious  glances amidst morsel  of the  yummy meal.  Some very fine actors are at work here. But with due respects to the  mutton delicacy on the table , even the  redoubtableNaseeruddin Shah has  very little meat to chew on. He  struggles  to supplant substance  to his shadowy role.But  achieves precious little.

Naseer gets  able support from the ever-dependable Shishir Mishra who is shown to be  married(or are they just a couple?)  to a young beautiful Muslim woman, played by the young beautiful Sri Swara.

(A word  on  this  talented beauty: why is she largely ignored  by our  filn industry?).

 Further tension on  the  dining table.  Naseer’s character Vijay Kapoor  doesn’t seem to get along with his son Varun(BhuvanArora). Papa makes snide remarks. Son grimaces.  Other dinnertable guests squirm.

Dinnertable conversations have  been  a classic stage  for onscreen drama. But here the  director has more on the plate then he can handle. In 17 minutes he crams in inter-communal relationships, parental distress, spousal trust,  praise for punctuality and course the virtues of  rogan josh.

By the time the twist in the tale appears  on screen we know that the  plot has been  only a pretext to  come to a point where  a fatal statement  on the  26/11 attack is tagged onto the  characters who  are probably tucking into the  rogan josh even after the doom’s day saga is done.

This film does nothing for  the  memory  of those who lost their lives  in 26/11. I  do hope it helps make the mutton dish more popular.

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