Zindagi Badi Honi Chahiye...Lambi Nahin...This is to you Hrishida....
The quality of life lived is far more important than the number of years one lives. This simple one line (First thing that catches attention as the credits start rolling) captures the whole essence of Nagesh Kukunoor's latest offering 'Dor'. And it can be said that, it's a fitting tribute to slice-of-life storyteller Hrishikesh Mukherjee who passed away recently. The manner in which this story of love, redemption and freedom from fear unfolds, it leaves you pleasantly surprised. And then there's Shreyas Talpade, (The 'Iqbal' of Nagesh's earlier superbly made film) who gives ample entertaining moments that keeps you in splits.
'Dor' is a fantastic film that floors you with its unique storytelling methodology, fabulous performances (Commendable since the lead actors are very young), fine music, great camerawork and gripping direction. There are moments in the later half of the film which tends to be a bit preachy and the cinematic liberty is stretched beyond common sense at times too. Yet, 'Dor' is a landmark cinema that shall surely find acceptance amongst a certain section of the audience. The Box Office fate of this low budget film will be encouraging for the producers as well as the director to continue making cinema that entertains as well as have the courage to tell a different story....Differently.
Zeenat (Gul Panag) is a strong willed independent girl living by herself in a scenic village in Himachal Pradesh. She marries her lover Amir (Rushad Rana) who leaves for Saudia Arabia the very next day of their marriage. Meera (Ayesha Takia) is a simple, docile, Rajasthani girl who abides by the laws set by her in-laws. Her extremely loving husband Shankar (Anirudh Jatkar) too has to go abroad to earn money so that his father (Girish Karnad) could repay the debt of their 'Pushton ki Haveli'. Both Zeenat and Meera are bonded together by a thread of fate and their lives run parallel to each other.
In an unfortunate accident Shankar is killed and his roommate Amir is implicated. The only way his death sentence can be waived is through a signature by the widow of Shankar on the 'Forgiveness Letter'. Zeenat travels to Rajasthan on her own with nothing but a photograph of Amir and Shankar in search of Meera. She finds help from unexpected quarters as a lovable-rogue Imposter (Shrayas Talpade) guides him to Meera's village. After being turned away by Shankar's family, Zeenat's options were fast running out. What happens next is best left unsaid. It's best if you check it out for yourself.
Gul Panag as Zeenat bowls you over with her innate simplicity, conviction in handling the role of a woman who has a tough exterior but is terribly vulnerable from inside. The scenes where she is shown to be exasperated by Shreyas' antics and the section when she is interacting with a distraught Meera tell volumes about an actress waiting to be Discovered. Her communication through the eyes in the climax of the film is a lump-in-the-throat moment that clings to you once the movie is over.
Ayesha Takia's Meera is the coming-into-her-own of an actress who showed potential with her first film 'Socha Na Tha' but could never really find good roles thereafter. Here, in a deglamorised performance she successfully deviates from a simple, homely, subjugated girl-woman to an individual who learns to make her own decisions. The scene where she defies her father-in-law (He actually sells her to get his Haveli back) and her bonding with Zeenat (From whom she finds the fuel to rejuvenate herself again) brings out a superlative performance. Watch out for her heightened joy when she breaks into a jig on 'Kajra Re' in the middle of the desert or the rendition of all the dialogues while watching 'Hero' in a small town movie theatre.