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Zee 5 Big New Year’s Bungle

Zee5 has released  two films today Wah Zindagi  and Turtle which seem to be one work halved into two. Turtle tells  the same  story of the same  drought-stricken  village  that Wah Zindagi carries in . The cast for both the  films is the same except that the talented Naveen Kasturia(who  most  assuredly deserves a better  deal than this)  is only part of Wah Zindagi.

Looking at this  half of this preposterous ‘slice’ of life, Wah Zindagi opens in a parched village in Rajasthan which has  known no  rain for years. A  little boy is considered manhoos(inauspicious) and  driven out of  the village , but only after  undergoing  a child marriage.  The bride and groom grow up to be Naveen Kasturia  and Plabita Borthakur, talented actors who go through the  film like headless chickens in search of a pot to simmer in.

I felt sorry  for both actors who are given dialogues that sound like they were slogans  stolen from the back of autorickshaws.

Dinesh S Yadav  is credited with the direction  of both  films. He must have worked against all odds to create something so deplorably  bereft of  an innerlife . There is  no centre to the plot.  It moves in unexpected ways, and  not in a good way. It’s just not sure where  it  is going.

Sadly  the  whole presentation is not only dated, it also  lacks coherence  , with the hero  selling a indigenous  anti-China message  in a plot that seems  way too ambitious  for its own good. The talented Vijay Raaz shows up at some point as a town’s  spokesperson being bullied by  his mother for not  being married  even though he is 35 . Poor Vijay Raaz cringes  through   the part.I am not  too sure why he agreed to be part  of this scrambled film.

More importantly why is Zee5  releasing this  4-year  old  film now, when all the actors had  probably forgotten about it. What a startling wakeup call for  the New Year!

Turtle,the companion piece is marginally better than Wah Zindagi. It features  Sanjay Mishra as a  village patriarch  struggling to  eke out  water for a famine-ridden village:  yes, the same  village as  the one in Wah Zindagi. The drought is  contagious: it not only affects village  but also the  two films(actually one cut into two, for reasons  best known to the sagacious OTT platform) .

The aridity  of   cogent or  even coherent  ideas runs through both films.Sanjay Mishra  could be  considered the saving grace of the graceless double-bill.  But  he has precious little  to do in Wah Zindagi and  is all over the place  in Turtle.He looks  uncertain about not only the situation on-hand but  civilization in general.

Do  yourself  a favour . If you can’t find anything better to do for this New Years weekend,then extract your nails, one  by one, with  a plier. Less painful.

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