Deepa Mehta's VIDESH (HEAVEN ON EARTH titled internationally) is a mixed bag of spousal abuse, submissive daughter-in-law, violent husband, cruel in-laws, packaged with mythological elements. Over the years, a handful of filmmakers have depicted the plight of victims of marital abuse, the disturbing scenario through powerfully-told characters in Hindi films. And Deepa's VIDESH deals with the same cliched subject. After giving some thought-provoking films like FIRE, EARTH, WATER, a lot was expected from the director Deepa Mehta but VIDESH falls dreary.
From a small town in Punjab, the happy-go-lucky girl Chand (Preity), strangely enough, is sent all alone to Canada, to marry Rocky (Vansh) whom she has never met. Full of dreams in her eyes of a happy married life; her dreams are shattered on her wedding night itself. The jobless mamma's boy & Chand's husband Rocky (Vansh Bharadwaj) is highly frustrated person who has no sexual interest in his wife or rather no human feelings at all, except anger, which erupts in physical violence. Chand soon realizes life as a non-resident Indian is not all it's made out to be. You expect some expression of anger or shock from Chand (who is an educated, city girl), but she is totally passive. Disheartened Chand who brings along her mom's narrated poems and folktales seeks solace in reciting her mom's narrated myths of the holy snake 'Sheshnaag' (who is considered to take form of any individual). Rocky and his mom's insulting behaviour increases with Rocky often brutally beating Chand up. But then one night, her ''snake god'' from her backyard comes to life and enters her bedroom in the form of her husband Rocky.
The basic plot is interesting but Deepa Mehta has made a complete mess of it. The snail-paced movie has mystifying black and white portions. Too many close shots also don't work in film's favour, at times it irks you.
From an unmarried mom to bubbly babe to brave lady to tormented wife in VIDESH the feisty girl of Bollywood Preity Zinta has come long way. She has portrayed the character of Chand magnificently. The differing shades of excitement, confusion and then helplessness are portrayed very well by Preity but sadly a whole film cannot ride on it. Though Deepa Mehta has got the perfect ensemble cast in place but it doesn't work. Except for Preity the film appears lifeless.
All in all VIDESH doesn't offer you any Heaven in your cinema!