Friday, February 8, 2013

David

Walking out of David, I thought how much better it could have been. The premise, which is revealed only in the end, is brilliant. And I thought it had the capacity to deliver a better, more intimate story. Like I was just reading in one of the reviews for Shaitan, I sometimes felt that the film would have been less distracting if Bejoy Nambiar didn't show off his technical prowess in every frame.

Hyperlink Cinema, as introduced to us by the judiciously gifted Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, is a film technique dealing with usually three different stories which on the surface seem not to be related, but as revealed in the end, are connected thematically; usually one incident binding them all. Nambiar tries something similar, and I love the idea of using the name David to deal with three different people, across three different eras, in three different societies but all of  who are deeply attached to their fathers and who are forced to make life-altering choices.

The films are shot spectacularly, with the London track convincingly leaving the noir mark, the muted, saturated tones of the Mumbai track gel well with the mood, and the bright, unsteady shots in the Goa track are apt for stunning locales. Halfway through the Mumbai track, it suddenly hit me, why I was growing restless in the theatre. I liked the premise, the look but the story seemed to be chugging along after all. Bad acting. Vinay Virmani's character was probably the least developed character among the three Davids and added to that, his lack of conviction let that story down. Even in his most powerful scenes, the ones that had so much scope, he was mediocre at best and indifferent at worst. Neil Nitin was competent as the brooding young man, with his crowbar moustache doing half his job.  And I thought the guy who played his foster father, Ghani, was spectacular in the tiny role. Especially his monologue at dinner table was magnificent. And Vikram was at his natural in the role of a man perpetually stuck between reality and illusion. He pulls off these characters really well, men who have no clue what is going on in the world around them. And Nambiar's use of Saurabh Shukla was hilarious. Tabu, in a cameo, stole hearts.

The weakest point, as I see it, was the underwritten characters and Nambiar's need to make every frame glitzy. It tired me after a point of time, having to know how creative and smart Nambiar is. With better writing and better casting, David could have been so much more. Now I think I know why Anurag Kashyap is such a phenomenal director. Come to think of it, Gangs of Wasseypur doesn't even have a story. Just pick up the right cast, and they'll take you to Cannes.

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