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review:kisna

samir_soni Goldie
samir_soni
samir_soni

Joined: 19 December 2004
Posts: 1773

Posted: 21 January 2005 at 6:29am | IP Logged
Kisna

By Taran Adarsh, January 21st, 2005 - 1700 hrs IST


When an accomplished film-maker comes up with his new product, you await it with bated breath. And if the track record happens to be as enviable as that of Subhash Ghai, the expectations soar skywards.

Subhash Ghai, the master storyteller, is back with his new outing KISNA. Set in the pre-independence era, when Britishers ruled India, KISNA is not a page from history, but a work of fiction.

Contrary to expectations, KISNA is not similar to the Academy Award nominated period film LAGAAN. The comparisons are obvious since both LAGAAN and KISNA look at an Indian's fight against the tyranny of Britishers.

Frankly, KISNA bears a striking resemblance to Michael Mann's widely acclaimed masterpiece THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS [1992; starring Daniel Day-Lewis, Madeleine Stowe], a love story threatened by overwhelming circumstances.

Wait, there's one more film Ghai takes the inspiration from – the all-time favourite TITANIC.

Despite two classics as the reference points, KISNA works only partly. It starts off brilliantly, but runs out of steam as incident after incident unfolds. And by the time it reaches the finale, the viewer is simply exasperated!
Ghai could've taken that big leap internationally with KISNA, but...

The turbulent 1940s forms the backdrop of this love story when the nationalists had locked horns with the British to give India its independence. KISNA is set during that era.

A young Indian, Kisna [Vivek Oberoi], defies his family and brethren and shields a British girl Catherine [Antonia Bernath] from an enraged mob of nationalists. Catherine happens to be the young daughter of a ruthless British Deputy Commissioner [Michael Maloney].

Kisna decides to escort Catherine to the British High Commission in New Delhi, but before that he has to face opposition from his uncle [Amrish Puri], elder brother Shankar [Yashpal Sharma] and a scheming, lusty and power-hungry prince, Raghuraj [Rajat Kapoor].

During this journey, Kisna and Catherine's friendship blossoms into love, thereby complicating Kisna's life further. His relations with the girl he is engaged to, Laxmi [Isha Sharvani], are strained in the process...

Making a period film is akin to walking a tightrope. If you deviate from the plot even slightly, or miss focus, the impact can get diluted. That's what happens in the latter part of KISNA.

KISNA takes off very well and the initial reels keep your eyes glued to the screen. This, despite the fact that the story and flashback unfolds exactly the way TITANIC starts. Ghai, the master film-maker, successfully recreates the pre-independence era and introduces his characters skillfully.

The friendship that begins during childhood continues to bloom even after Kisna and Catherine meet as adults. The proceedings get interesting when the Indians attack the Commissioner's house and Kisna takes it upon himself to save Catherine from their clutches.

But the moment Kisna and Catherine embark on an unexpected journey, the graph of the film starts going downhill. Actually, the story stagnates at this juncture!

The pace picks up again during the intermission point and you expect the post-interval portions to ignite the screen. But nothing of the sort happens. Rather, nothing exciting happens. Frankly, what you witness in the second half has been witnessed umpteen times earlier.

The post-interval portions suffer largely because the screenplay now becomes very predictable and run-of-the-mill. There's a mujra, then a dream song [an English track] comes up, then the usual chase ensues, with the hero defeating all his opponents one by one, then the prince surfaces on the scene suddenly and then the climax, when the lovers go separate ways. But that's not the end. The two women, who love Kisna dearly, meet again during the sunset of their lives and talk of Kisna's love for Catherine.

By the time the film reaches its climax, the lethargic pace at which the story unfolds, coupled with the been-there-done-that kind of situations, dilute the impact considerably.

Subhash Ghai's choice of the subject is perfect – a love story, if made well, always strikes a chord with cinegoers – but where KISNA falters is in its undernourished and uninspiring screenplay. The proceedings, more so towards the second half, are so lackluster and jaded that despite Ghai's mature handling of some scenes, the outcome is not up to the mark. Writers Sachin Bhaumick, Farukh Dhondy and Margaret Glover along with Ghai himself have just not been able to deliver a taut script!

The four writers run out of ideas in the post-interval portions specifically. The entire Om Puri track, right till the riots in the end, follows the same predictable path. Also, Ghai has set his film in the pre-independence era, but why do the ladies – even the traditional Indian heroine – reveal so much cleavage? Showing Catherine's back [in the climax] was also unnecessary. The skin show doesn't gel with the era the film is set in!

Ashok Mehta's cinematography is of international standard. Absolutely flawless. The locales of North India are simply breath-taking. The chases and the sword fights [Tinu Verma] are excellent.

The musical score [A.R. Rahman, Ismail Darbar] is rich and melodious, but when viewed with the story, only two songs register an impact – the title track deserves a special mention. 'Hum Hain Is Pal Yahan' has a haunting tune, while the English track should be deleted instantaneously for it acts as a major hindrance in the narrative.

Vivek Oberoi is entrusted with the responsibility of carrying the film on his shoulders, but the actor has not been able to get into the skin of the character and deliver a performance that merits golden words. He lacks the fire to carry this role with gusto. His dialogue delivery and expressions, at places, leave a lot to be desired.

The real hero of the film is the British actress Antonia Bernath. She handles the difficult role with amazing grace, displaying the various emotions with lan. Her performance can be best described in one word – outstanding!

Isha Sharvani is a confident actress, but she suffers due to a sketchy characterization. Yet, it must be said that she comes across as a fine performer. Also, she's an accomplished dancer; her dances are awe-inspiring.

Polly Adams, as the aged Catherine, is first-rate. Caroline Langrishe, as Catherine's mother, is effective. Michael Maloney doesn't get ample scope.

Amrish Puri is wasted in an insignificant role. Ditto for Om Puri. Yashpal Sharma makes his presence felt. Rajat Kapoor is equally good. Sushmita Sen is alright in the mujra and the two scenes. Hrishita Bhatt doesn't impress. Zarina Wahab, Vikram Gokhale and Vivek Mushran fill the bill.

On the whole, KISNA does not meet the colossal expectations that you anticipate from a Subhash Ghai film. At the box-office, the film would meet with mixed reactions. Eventually, the film may not be able to hold on thanks to a weak second half. The silver lining is the holiday period, Friday [Idd] as well as Wednesday [26th January; Republic Day]. That would help largely. But a long run seems tough!

Rating:- * *.

sree IF-Rockerz
sree
sree

Joined: 22 November 2004
Posts: 8740

Posted: 21 January 2005 at 7:24am | IP Logged
no great review, this. Vivek oberoi seems to be absolutely out of place in this movie.This is what i feel seeing the critic's remarks about him.
SONYA_K Goldie
SONYA_K
SONYA_K

IF’s Strict Mod
Joined: 19 January 2005
Posts: 2249

Posted: 21 January 2005 at 8:00am | IP Logged
Thanks 4 sharing....SmileSmile
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