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Being Cyrus Review

Review by IndiaGlitz [ Tuesday, March 28, 2006 • Hindi ]

Homi Adajania surprises you. First, by choosing an intricate psychological drama for a storysetting for his first film. And then, by choosing a very Parsi setting for his film, with Parsi characters with Parsi names that surprisingly don't  end up branding his film as an in-your-face Parsi drama. But what's most surprising is the felicity with which this debutante director tackles the complex scenario of an extremely well written psychological drama and lets it develop as each really well defined and differently motivated character goes through the storyline, carrying his own baggage and motives through two distinctly different-toned halves that go on complete a complex picture and make Being Cyrus a memorable entertainer.

First the setup. The story revolves around the families of two brothers and and their old father. Two families, one living in Panchgani, and the other in Mumbai. The dope smoking Dinshaw (Naseeruddin Shah) is a talented sculptor who lives with his wife Cathy (Dimple Kapadia). Cathy is bored with life and obviously susceptible to amorous attention.

Dinshaw's younger brother Farokh (Boman Irani) is a high-handed and mean-minded man who lives with and  dominates his wife Tina (Simone Singh) and his father Fardoonjee (Honey Chhaya), a pitiable old man who evokes much sympathy for being the father ignored and not cared for by his sons, especially Farokh, who limits Fardonjee's movements to the backroom of his own flat. And, as Fardonjee believes, keeps him starved.

The film obviously starts as a psychological story, and before long settles into an easy unfolding of the plot, with each character moving along with his own baggage and motives, interacting with the rest in a well woven tapestry of sequences that are edited in an easyflowing style that switches from the linear to the non-linear. We go through the quaint and not so quaint quirks of the Sethnas' lives, along with some sidesplitting sequences  replete with funny lines that have you in splits due to the way they are placed and spoken. And we also get a whiff of the skeletons buried in the Sethna closet.

Something is waiting to happen.

Into the lives of this complex set of characters enters a young man, Cyrus (Saif Ali Khan), who shows up at Dinshaw's doorstep to learn sculpture as his assistant. And we can see that  Dinshaw's vivacious, vulnerable wife, bored with  the drudgery of her placid life in remote Panchgani,  is sure to fall for his charm, and she does. She clearly likes him....

When Cyrus visits the other brother Farokh and his father Fardonjee, he sees how the old man is treated and how disillusioned he feels with life, and Cyrus reaches out to Fardonjee.

Through Cyrus and his interactions with the Sethna family, its dichotomies and dysfunctional nature is clearly visible, and you are gripped by the goings on. The complex screenplay demands complete attention, and as it unfolds, the story changes in tone from a lighter unfolding of slices of life feel to a thriller.

Obviously made for the pleasure of making a good film and with scant regard for any commercial priorities,  Being Cyrus has  three strengths: the Screenplay, written by  Kersi Khambatta and Homi Adajania is the first. Complexly crafted, it is a chain whose  every link demands undivided attention. A tad slow in the second half, which is not helped very much due to the edit style, however, overall, it's an excellent storyline which demands the other two strengths, which the film mercifully displays in abundance: excellent performances, and sound direction that's a good mix of the creative and the technical. Each of the fine cast, starting with  Saif, does full justice. Saif, in a  difficult role with complex shades, stands out for not

Rating: 0 / 5.0

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