Wednesday, June 15, 2005

conversations on 'Parineeta'

Bottomline - I loved the movie. Anyone associated with Kolkata beyond work - as in people who have lived in the city, known families/people etc. who belong to the city - will identify with what I thought was a great re-creation of the city and the period. ‘Coffee house’ and ‘Moulin Rouge’ and ‘Trincas’ is such an integral part of the 60’s Kolkata. I think having a Bengali director (who incidentally is a reputed ad film maker) was a good idea to capture the finer nuances in Bengali novels that movies like ‘Devdas’ and ‘Chokher Bali’ miss out on. Also the biggest achievement was not having Ash in the movie - she would have single handedly destroyedit. The film has kept warmth, emotions, relationships at the core of the film without it beingoverpowered by the sets or grandeur. Some of the music is haunting & I thought the performances (esp. Saif & Vidya) were very good – sensitive potrayal of the friendship- sensual relationship.

Not so good - the climax was a melodramatic disaster that took away from the otherwise moderate / under-played feel of the film. & the clothes – women in Kolkata in the 60s never wore salwaar kurtas.

I strongly recommend the film.
Soma Ghosh

The film was ok. Certainly worth watching once esp. if you are prepared for the drama at the end. But I would not rave about it. Maybe as Soma puts it, to truly appreciate the city movie you need to be associated with the city beyond work. Vidya Balan is lovely and Saif was very good too but somehow it dragged a bit and I got bored just looking at the two of them one after the other. The story was not very powerful. Maybe I would have enjoyed the film more if it had been in Bengali (with subtitles of course).

Karpagam Thiyagarajan


I loved the movie. I loved the music. I loved Vidya Balan in the lead role of ‘Parineeta’. Everyone else was quite good too - even Sunjay Dutt and Ms. Sen (Riya or Raima, not sure which). I loved the ending too - am a sucker for such good senti endings. Though it was a bit over-dramatic, but I guess there had to be a typical phillumi touch somewhere.

Thank god the movie did not have Aishwarya. Her beauty/reputation would have overawed the director and the cameraman, unnecessarily dominated each frame of the movie and hijacked the story altogether. Vidya Balan, on the other hand, blends into the story and becomes Parineeta. The movie hinges on her performance, yet she never dominates a scene. I spent the whole movie gazing at her face, she has a very nice face, you don't get bored looking at it - it doesn't stay still, ripples of emotion keep flowing over it.

‘Parineeta’ is much more subtle, underplayed and nuanced than 'Devdas' or 'Chokher Bali'. And it reminds one of Kolkata quite successfully without overdoing the bengali accents and having characters call each other 'bondhu' constantly.

I liked the Saif - Vidya friendship, it was very nicely portrayed. Except that they seemed to be a slightly insular pair - kept seeming to spend all their time with each other and live out of each others pockets. And she seemed to be a bit of a doormat – sat at home and wept instead of going to ‘Moulin Rouge’ with her friends just bcoz Saif objected. But that’s just me imposing my personal biases on the storyline, so I shall not say more on the topic.

Feel that Karpagam is probably right when she says that it takes a Kolkata connection to truly love the movie. I have lived there for two years and there were small small touches in the movie that kept reminding me of Cal and made me feel nostalgic. And I hate the city !
Please don’t miss the intro to Cal in the beginning. It is quite nice and is in Amitabh Bachchans voice. Don’t be late for this movie.

Negatives : The ending was very melodramatic. Sanjay dutt was quite bad in one crucial scene towards the end - he can't emote – though he manages a moony calf love expression during the rest of the movie quite well. Accents are a bit off – It should be ‘Shekhor’ and ‘Loleeta’, not ‘Shekhar’ and ‘Lolita’, since these are the names of the lead characters and are uttered only about 500 times each, care should have been taken about these pronounciations.

Zenobia D. Driver

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