First, the obvious faults. The first half is clearly 30 minutes too long and the second half takes a Karan Johar like route. Obliterate these and you have a winner on your hands even though the story is nothing new. It has been told before and you have heard it umpteen times. Remember PREETY WOMAN? The script is loosely on those lines. So even as the film labours to its climax you know what the end will be. This is Indian cinema of the mid-eighties and early nineties; a tad melodramatic!
But what beats me is this; Rani Mukherji’s cousin brother who lives in Benares (with his father, and who is fighting for the bungalow where Rani, her sister Konkona Sen Sharma and parents Anupam Kher and Jaya Bachchan live), is confused as to how his uncle is now living a lavish life when earlier he struggled to make ends meet. His quest for the truth brings him to Bombay, where Rani is working as a call girl, to help support her family. This guy has even figured out her ‘per night rate’!
Director Pradeep Sarkar begins with a bang, introducing every character with a touch of flourish, and then throws away the advantage to hop on to mediocrity. Like Vibha, Rani Mukherjee’s character, who comes to Bombay in search of a job and loses track, Sarkar does the same.
The moving moments are between Jaya, who alone knows her daughter’s dark secret and Rani; and when Konkona is faced with the truth. These scenes, apart from the first half, are excellent.
As for Abhishek Bachchan and Rani Mukherjee, they make a good on-screen pair. The chemistry is there for all to see. For all the talk after his marriage, that their performance would suffer (remember Rani was not invited to the wedding), they come across as seasoned actors not letting personal issues bog them down in front of the camera. Ditto, Rani-Jaya!
Jaya Bachchan and Anupam Kher, as the spineless father who throws in the towel unable to take care of his family, are good. So are Konkona and Rani. Sushant Singh reminds you of the goons of old, while Harsh Chhaya is fast filling in the shoes left vacant by Shakti Kapoor.
From the man who gave us PARINEETA, this is a big let down.
The tagline says, it’s the journey of a woman, but no sane woman needs to take this route!