The credits roll and the movie opens with a brief shot of the river Ganga and its famous ambience and you can't help saying "What a stunning photography!" In a movie set in a specific location with the story spun around it you expect that place to be a part of the movie, or another character in the movie, so to speak. And cinematographer Neerav Shah has done a spectacular job! He has captured the atmosphere so beautifully and has maintained the image throughout the film; he never lets it go off. It's a visual treat actually!
Coming onto the movie. Some subjects have the potential to be really different, really memorable. This is one of those sagacious topics and it conceals within it a good amount of essence. This could easily have been the 'as old as the hills', 'poor boy-rich girl romance' but director Pankuj Parashar refrains it from being one very cleverly. This time, its 'lower caste boy-upper caste girl camaraderie' and Parashar sets the story against a different backdrop- spirituality. But there's a problem here, instead of becoming a backdrop the milieu of spirituality has become the core substance of the film. Ideally it should have run parallel to the narrative. As a result the movie has become a little stiff.
The story goes like this. Shwetambari is the daughter of wealthy Brahmin parents and studies Physics at the local University. She falls in love with a talented musician Soham who belongs to a lower caste. The news about their relationship triggers off the unrest and Soham pays the price for it. He is murdered and Shwetambari is devastated. She quits Banaras and is now a saintly woman, respected by one and all. After a long time, she comes back to her native city to meet her father, who is now on a deathbed.
First, the positive things. The subject is unusual and the director has made a commendable effort without any doubt. This could be Parashar's finest film by far. He seems to have taken care that this does not become an 'art-house' cinema. He has presented this with more style and in doing so stays true to his convictions.
Acting is first-rate. Urmila (Shwetambari) dazzles one more time with a thoroughly sincere performance. Good to see that this talented actress hasn't restricted herself to doing the run-of-the-mill mundane roles. Naseer needs no introduction! In this movie he is the angel, a Godly figure! His presence bears no direct connection to the story but is vital in context of the movie. He is the preacher and the conscience of the hero Soham (Ashmit Patel). And hence has been provided the lengthy dialogues which he speaks softly (in shhudh Hindi!).