Freaky Chakra... going around in circles
Scenes from V.K. Prakash's "Freaky Chakra".
Director, "Freaky Chakra"
CONGRATULATIONS! You made just the right choice, Sir. In Deepti Naval, you pencilled in probably the best-suited heroine to essay the role of Janki, a 40-year-old widow, who is almost always at the receiving end of life. If her tap runs dry, she longs for a fresh spurt. If her life is lonely, she longs for company. Now, Sir, as you would have seen yourself, Deepti Naval is a woman who makes simplicity appealing, a woman who makes naturalness a precious endowment. She is not a woman who would ignite blind passion. She is the one who would evoke cultured admiration.
As a temperamental widow who lives life at two levels - she has no love lost for the living, yet dresses up the dead, Deepti Naval looks the part. The familiar dialogue delivery, the usual ease before the camera and those far from self-conscious looks. If she is reasonably good as the screaming, yelling widow, she is devastatingly good as a woman who knows what to do with a man when she does come across the right specimen. Congratulations and thanks for giving this talented actress a fine role, so what if it has shades of Dimple Kapadia's role in Somnath Sen's "Leela"!
Sir, congrats also for roping in newcomer Sunil Rao as the perky paying guest who manages to share the hearth and a lot else with the hostess. He is a fine find. And maybe, we will get to see more of him in future. Also, it was a fine decision to get Sachin Khedekar to essay the lick-spittle part of a bank professional, retired, issueless, loveless. But that is not for want of trying, never mind if he is always rebuffed!
But, Sir, I must confess at the risk of sounding a spoilsport, the film is far from fine. Though it is the narrator's vision, the vision is if one must say it, tunnel vision. It is neither as `freaky' as its initial name, nor as conventional as its latter part. If you remember, you had promised something that will appeal to the youngsters and also be able to carry tradition with it. The way this film shapes up, it carries neither the young nor those young only at the heart. If anything it trivialises a very serious issue of a middle-aged woman left alone to fend for herself. Neither have you paid due respect to the sentiments of a woman who cares for the dead nor cared to explain the sudden change and the shedding of all inhibitions when she meets a charming, young boy - no, he is not a man, not yet; he is only 19. If it is not cradle snatching, then very little can qualify for that trait.
I know Hindi cinema is undergoing a period of change. I also know we have to change to evolve. That's the only constant. But Sir, in recent times haven't we had films like "Leela" and a little before that "Ek Chhotisi Love Story" which raised a big storm? And earlier there have been films like "Maya Memsaheb" and "Ek Nai Paheli". Well, actually I am being a shade pompous in pointing out these films to you; as a film-maker with experience, you would have probably seen them all. And been inspired by them. It shows!
I must clarify, I am all for experimental cinema. But there should not be an experiment at the cost of the viewers. After all, the common man shells out more than just a few bucks to watch cinema, he should be guaranteed certain basic return. Unfortunately, this film despite your well-meaning effort to sneak in something new, nice and entertaining, does not quite deliver. It promises a lot, fulfils a lot less, leaving us all feeling somewhat cheated. Next time maybe you will be as good as your word. But this time, you took all of us round and round in circles, beginning nowhere, reaching nowhere.
Here's wishing the best of luck - you will probably need all of it - when the film is released countrywide this coming Friday.
ZIYA US SALAM
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