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Monday, August 22, 2005


Caught a couple of films over the weekend, both coincidentally on the same topic—HIV positive men and their increasing alienation leading to ostracization within their families and then from society as a whole, before desolate and benumbed with anguish, they succumb.

Phir Milenge & My Brother Nikhil are honest attempts, painfully so, as tantalizing opportunities to aggrandize and vituperate are unashamedly passed on, treading instead on a thin story line and wavering characterization.
The urge to pontificate was perceptible in the former, and perhaps even on the brink of adopting a carefree Look Ma No Hands buccaneering approach. Wisely the director played down the Small B’s pirouetting and returned to the original story line—that of a successful corporate woman struck down in the prime of her career by the dreaded virus.
This in itself is a departure from sketchy delineations of the Modern Indian Lady that most past directors have faithfully adhered to. Decent support from established actors, Salman is not one of them, and some interesting legal aspects thrown in for good measure. Some parts were straight out of a public service documentary as the director’s intent shone through obscuring the narrative, but overall good work by Sahara One and the players.
Surprisingly, I was not taken with Shilpa Shetty’s performance despite the relative novelty of the role for a glam-gal whose spoken lines have been simpering nonsense so far. The Shankar Ehsaan Loy combo was audibly subdued and the fledgling musical tunes of Bhavata Raja made their its presence felt too. ( Is he the scion of Illayaraja ? )

My Brother Nikhil by Onir was a different kind of film, a nostalgic looking back in time by a sister of a sibling lost to the malaise. This debut essay went further, because it brought in a homosexual liaison angle as well. Shot in Goa, it had conversation-less vistas, vast expanses of emptiness & poignant silences. I thought this was the more poetic of the two attempts, shorn of cacophony and histrionics and almost a Western feel to it. Viveck Philip with the music and Amitabh Varma with lyrics had a good, if uneventful day in the office. The cast was okay, Sanjay Suri & Shiney Ahuja competent, and even a cameo from Shayan Munshi made me think of Junk(aar) Beats because Juhi was omnipresent in an understated performance.

I liked ‘em both, warts and all !


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