Why did Amol Palekar choose to turn this short fantastic folktale into a rather longish full-fledged movie with Shah Rukh Khan, Rani Mukherjee and Amitabh Bachchan?
Not that I did not like the movie but I am not sure if one would actually like to pay to watch this movie. It’s a perfect film to watch on TV in between surfing channels or on the DVD so that you could fast forward the songs.
But sitting through the whole film requires just a little patience. If you already love the songs, then you might actually enjoy the movie. Or it does not make sense to sit and watch this rather long and slow movie which entertains, only if you are in the mood for watching offbeat cinema.
I believe that this movie needed more elements to make it engaging.
The film could have taken cinematic liberties to exploit the potential of the fantasy genre. Though Shah Rukh Khan plays a ghost, we really don’t know much about what ghosts cannot do in the film. Are there more such ghosts in the village? We don’t exactly know. All we know is that he’s a ghost who has fallen in love with the lonely bride whose husband has left her alone, as he goes away on business for five years the day after their wedding.
Since he’s a ghost, SRK is able to do pretty much everything from becoming whoever he wants to producing gold coins out of thin air to bringing rain overnight to the desert state to to making his guys win a camel race to getting Lachchi (Rani) pregnant with a baby (!). If everything’s possible and nothing is impossible, there is hardly any conflict or a serious crisis for a ghost. Which is why the film does not really haunt you. It would have been interesting to give the ghost a few limitations and bring these into play as the plot unfolds. It would have been interesting to add more ghost characters to add to the drama or comedy or at least add a sub-plot or two. The only other two ghosts in the movie are puppets who don’t seem to have any other power apart from narrating the tale. Which makes me curious about the world of ghosts and I learn absolutely nothing about them in the film but for the fact that they can do anything they want. At will!
Palekar probably found the tale interesting cuz of its core idea: a women’s conscious decision to choose who she wants to be with, after her newly wed husbands leaves home on business. But this like most of Shyamalan films does not really merit a feature length film. A short or a telefilm with lesser actors could have served the purpose too.
Cinematographer Ravi K Chandran does a damn good job yet again playing with red and orange shades to contrast with the yellow desert scapes of Rajasthan. SRK continues to play himself and seems to have ghost directed the romantic scenes. Rani Mukherjee is ravishing as usual and wears the sexiest cholis ever!
Watch it if you have the time and patience. You might actually like it.
On the whole, a decent effort. But not worth the time it takes to unfold. Personally, I kinda liked it.