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.