Dasvidaniya - The Review

Friday, December 5, 2008

Dasvidaniya is a film that you will probably connect with. Vinay Pathak and his team deliver it third time in a row after Bheja Fry and Mithya. As for what makes Dasvidaniya worth a watch, there are ample reasons for that.

When you have a gang of actors like Vinay Pathak, Saurabh Shukla, Rajat Kapoor and Ranvir Shorey the director's work becomes easy. The debutant director Shashant Shah looks in form in the film but I am not too sure if he would be able to pull of something like Dasvidaniya again. Remember Sagar Bellary of the Bheja Fry fame? Last heard he was planning sequels to Bheja Fry. I hope I am not sounding too much of a cynic but this is more of an actor's film rather than a director's. So, I am not going to attribute a larger share of the success of Dasvidaniya to the director.

Vinay Pathak - the actor turns into a producer with this film. Having played character roles so far in Bollywood, I think he must not be having the kind of money a Subhash Ghai has to splurge on something as inane as Yuvvraj. That shows in the film. The production value is very poor indeed. The outdoors are evidently manipulated. What is shown as Russia might as well be some place near the Amby valley. Sure the story is not about Russia but when the title is Dasvidaniya, you ought to show that dude. If money was the problem, we should probably excuse him because the overall product turned out to be good.

The music is refreshingly good. Kailash Kher's music does stand out in the film. It is difficult to compose music in a film that doesn't have too much scope for a song and dance. It is not a Yash Raj movie where situation for songs are created and picturised in exotic locales to add to their value. The movie has three songs and they gel well with the mood of the film. Maa is the better one of the lot because of the sentiments attached.

The story is not well developed. There are no surprises and it toes the "expected" line. A man suffering from cancer decides to do what he always wanted in life but could never do. The team probably wanted to pick a straight forward story of a terminally ill man and give the meaning of life their own interpretation. I must mention here that Dasvidaniya is not inspired from Anand. Anand was about spreading happiness in everyone's lives before exiting the World's stage while Dasvidaniya is about making oneself happy (not in a selfish sense though!). It is inspired from The Bucket List in that sense. The screenplay is good. The characters are introduced in the plot seamlessly. The dialogues are intelligent.

One place where the film scores heavily is acting. And that again was expected when it comes from the stable of competent actors like Pathak and Co. They are all good actors but it is easier said than done. Vinay Pathak plays two characters - one of the seedha Amar Kaul and the other of his hidden shaana Amar Kaul. It is unbelievable how he convincingly plays both of them. They look two distinctly different people. Very few actors besides Vinay Pathak can portray that. You have to look minutely to witness the subtleness with which he changes expressions on his face.

There is a scene where he gives a lift to his childhood sweetheart and she gets a phone call. He thinks its her boy friend and gets sad but the very next monent when he realises that it was her mother, his expressions change to being happy suddenly. Very natural! Another scene that needs a mention is the one where he expresses his love to her. There is no dialogue exchange but the emotion is conveyed. Though it is cliched to say I Love You in films, this one scene would probably count as one of the better ones among the lot that capture the moment.

Rest of the cast supports Pathak ably. No one has a lengthy role but they make their presence felt. Saurabh Shukla as the inconsiderate boss, Gaurav Gera as the estranged brother, Sarita Joshi as the mother, Ranvir Shorey as the Chunni Babu (of Devdas fame) reincarnation and Rajat Kapoor as Amar Kaul's childhood buddy. Everyone gives the film the support it requires.

Dasvidaniya will not be an Anand that will be remembered in the years to come. Probably because the story is not novel and has oft been retold in different ways. It will at best be remembered as a profitable attempt catering to the taste of the urban audience that watches films in multiplexes. But it will always be a film that will probably cheer you up and tell you that life is a bigger deal than death is!

Though its quite late in the day, go watch Dasvidaniya if you haven't. My rating 3.5 out of 5.


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