Shaji Kumar has managed to pull off an amazing feat. This movie is both romantic and serious, yet it is packed with slapstick humour. The director has managed to live up to the high expectations that were created by Aashiqui 2. Kumar, unlike his previous director, has made this a strong ensemble piece. The supporting cast is terrific, in particular, the performances of the two lead protagonists Plabita Borthakur and Aahana Kumra as Leela and Rihanna. Borthakur makes a wonderful Rehana. She has created a character who is both emotionally and physically vulnerable, yet is full of energy and determination.
Most of the humour comes from the relationship between the four friends. The movie is a very sweet and tender tale that will take you on a journey of discovering your own strength. But it does have its share of heavy moments, particularly when Rehana and Rihanna face the chilly reactions of their families and their conservative college. That is when the movie truly begins to soar.
Kumar has also made a wonderful effort to depict the turbulent changes that take place in the lives of the four women. The director has infused real bite into the movie. It is not a candy floss romance, but it has a solid core of relationships.
The movie is set in the capital city and that adds to the variety of the film. The director has managed to use his city wonderfully, and the scenes of partying in fashionable bars, the romantic moonlight walks that take place in the posh locality, the street scenes and the inside ones are all very well captured. These scenes are beautifully shot.
Both have seen their careers take off in the last few years and are both busy with movies and projects for 2014. If Paan Singh Tomar were to be released in the US or Europe, would the whole media and audience focus on how a movie with a nude scene was banned or would they look at how a film with four burkas was banned? I think it would be the latter. But then again, the Indian audience has been conditioned to hate the CBFC.
The CBFC does a lot of good, but I don’t think it should be one of the final stamping committees for the industry. In most, if not all, countries, the movies are accepted only after a rigorous screening process to ensure that they are only meant for audiences who aren’t offended by muck, violence and sexuality. Granted, India is a different country with a lot more wayward sensibilities, but the CBFC should be more concerned with ensuring that only movies that are great are released. If it relaxes its vigilance a bit, we may be able to have more of the very things that it is trying to ensure do not exist in the Indian film industry.
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