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Koi Mere Dil Se Poochhe


Good story, tight script and a dash of suspense ... "Koi Mere Dil Se Poochhe".

DREAM GIRL'S very own dream girl is here. And if you were to ask me, she is no dream. Far from it. Esha Deol on her screen debut in Boney Kapoor's ``Koi Mere Dil Se Poochhe'' — released at cinema halls this past week — is a mobile advertisement for ordinariness.

And the wonders this trait in the right genes can do! Here is a girl with a pedigree — Dharmendra and Hema Malini's daughter — who bears no trace of her past.

Add to that her inability to swerve and sway the Bollywood way and you know here is a girl who would not have been where she is if she were not to belong to the place. A cruel dissection of a beginner, you would say. Somewhat harsh maybe, yes, but when you are in the public eye, no quarters can be asked for, none given. And being a star son-daughter is not always a blessing — ask poor Abhishek Bachchan for solid first-hand experience.

Not a bad actress though for a debutante, Esha Deol has that kind of screen presence which makes the background look appealing. She also displays the kind of passion which makes the rustle of autumn leaves more powerful. However, in one respect she easily scores over Abhishek. That is in the film selection. Abhishek has been dubbed by the industry insiders as purely unlucky. He has been good in bad films, the charitably inclined have whistled on. It is not the case with Esha's debut film. It is a good film, one of the better ones to hit the silver screen in recent weeks, in fact. But she is not quite good enough, even if her dialogue delivery is fair and she is not guilty of melodrama. She does not have a pronounced accent either — all these probably give her something to build on.

As for the film, well, director Vinay Shukla is back quite some time after ``Godmother'' got him instant acclaim. Here he tells a tale which has, as the catchline goes, a twist in the tail. ``Koi Mere...'' is not a boy-meet-girl kind of love story with dollops of love, chocolates, pink ribbons and birthday cakes. True all these elements are there. But they are reduced to being incidental as the powerful story unfolds towards the end of the first half.

The girl who rebuffs all attempts of the affable boy — played in an easy-going manner by Aftab Shivdasani — at being friends for no ostensible reason, has a past. And howsoever she tries, she cannot run away from it. But she is neither a love child nor has she been a witness to a gang-rape or mass killings. Her problem is more personal, and all the more intriguing. She wants a future. But it cannot be divorced from her past. How she manages the tightrope walk is what ``Koi Mere...''is all about.

The film comes with some fine performances by Jaya Bachchan — she is far better here than in ``Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham''— and, hold your breath, Sanjay Kapoor. The now not-so-young Kapoor is quite fun to watch here. As the bad guy who does not trust his mother, does not respect his wife and borders on the insane, he is quite at ease with his job, even if his role seems clearly inspired by the one made memorable by Shah Rukh Khan in ``Darr'' many summers ago. Incidentally, it also has a fabulous take-off on Shah Rukh `Mohabbatein' Khan.

Yes, ``Koi Mere...'' comes with a reasonably tight script, good story-telling and a dash of suspense. With Rajesh Roshan's music being par for the course, it is not a bad bargain at all.

ZIYA US SALAM

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