"Bewafaa" had it all. A great looking star cast, a huge budget and an interesting, traditionally bound plot inspired by B.R. Chopra's bold and progressive 1960s drama "Gumrah". But director Dharmesh Darshan throws it all away.
At first you are saddened by the sterile drama that he has created out of a potentially dramatic scenario. Then you're filled with rage at the extravagant and sad waste of precious resources.
At a time when films like "Page 3", "Black" and even a much-vilified film like "Sins" tries to take our cinema beyond the mundane, "Bewafaa" tries to pull it back into the stone age.
"Bewafaa" leaves you with the dread of the dead. The characters aren't only dwarfed and diminished but finally defeated and destroyed by the director's dysfunctional equations between time and space.
Darshan's directorial vision is purely from a decadent decade, possibly the l960s, when actors were made to stand against imposing backdrops to look "glamorous".
The plot, for those unfamiliar with Chopra's "Gumrah" is about the dilemma of a woman who must marry her widowed brother-in-law for the children's sake. Mala Sinha heaved a hefty melodramatic life into her role. Kareena Kapoor in the same role is crippled by a script that wants her character to cheat on her husband and still come out smelling like plastic roses.
Where she needed to breathe fire she simply stands in trendily designed saris trying to fit into a wifely role that the plot conceived for her.
It's a losing battle. The director's obsession with eye-catching surfaces gets in the way of the cast's most honest wishes - whatever they might be. While Anil Kapoor, Kareena and Akshay Kumar under play at crucial points, Manoj Bajpai and Shamita Shetty - playing an over-sexed, under-brained couple go so over-the-top, they topple into the pretty abyss that Darshan creates out of his glossy imagination.
There is also a group of socialites (a favourite satirical target in Dharmesh Darshan's cinema) played by the director's favourite Navneet Nishan among others who walk the raunchy path to invoke more revulsion than wrath.