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Videsh Review

Review by IndiaGlitz [ Friday, March 27, 2009 • Hindi ]
Videsh Review
Preity Zinta, Balinder Johal, Vansh Bhardwaj, Ramanjit Kaur, Gourrav Sihan, Rajinder Singh Cheema, Orville Maciel, Geetika Sharma, Yanna McIntosh
Deepa Mehta
BR Films and David Hamilton
Mychael Danna

Hop-skipping through contrasocio themes, Deepa Mehta strikes with yet another flick that flavours with a strong feminism. Precisely, the film's female protagonist has many similarities with Aishwarya's role in The Provoked. Indian brides battered black and blue in soul and body - these similarities tags them together. Of course, scenarios go straight on the same lines where families are prone to `Devil-may-care' motive of barging their daughters in foreign countries after their marriage.

Vibrant and irrepressibly alive, Chand (Preity Zinta) is a young bride leaving her home in Ludhiana, India, for the cavernous landscape of Brampton, Ontario, where her husband Rocky (Vansh Bhardwaj) and his very traditional family await her arrival. Everything is new to Chand everything is unfamiliar including the quiet and shy Rocky who she meets for the first time at the Arrivals level of Pearson Airport. Chand approaches her new life and her new land with equanimity and grace, and at times the wide-eyed optimism of hope-her first snowfall is a tiny miracle of beauty, and the roar of Niagara Falls creates the excitement of new beginnings.

But soon optimism turns to isolation as the family she has inherited struggles beneath the weight of unspoken words, their collective frustration becoming palpable. No one feels the pressure more than Rocky, weighed down by familial obligations. A controlling mother, who can't let him go, a sweet but ineffectual father, and a sister whose two children and unemployed husband are also a burden, all live with Rocky and Chand in a two-bedroom house in the suburbs of Toronto. To make matters worse, Rocky is expected to find the money to bring his extended family to Canada. Unable to express his anger, he finds other ways to release it and it's Chand who bears the brunt of his repressed rage. 

Trapped in a world she cannot comprehend and unable to please her husband, Chand is desperate. Hope comes in the form of Rosa (Yanna McIntosh), a tough and savvy Jamaican woman who works alongside Chand in a factory where immigrant women from all over the world clean and press dirty hotel laundry. Rosa sees past the make-up that covers Chand's bruised face. Realizing Chand has nowhere to turn, Rosa gives her a magical root advising her "to put it in whatever the bastard drinks." The root is supposed to seduce the one who takes it, making them fall hopelessly in love with the person who gives it to them. Chand's attempts with the magic root lead to surreal incidents and her life gradually begins to mirror an Indian fable involving a King Cobra. As the lines between fantasy and reality converge, Chand and Rocky come face to face with each other and themselves. 

It's as the famous saying goes, `One step away from striking Gold', Deepa Mehta stops halfway. An auteur who established extraordinary versions of substantial women-oriented scripts, this is quite an absurd one.  Ever imagined a socio-drama coalesced with fantasy. A rare cocktail that was supposed to be churned in early 70s; Deepa! You're too late with this show. Possibly, an ardent film researcher may pick this one to be his case study while for others; they may feel uncomfortable with fantasy barging in through `Cobra Ka Khel'.

Pertaining to onscreen performance, doubtlessly it's Preity Zinta who has trenchantly spelled her characterization. Getting to watch a bubbly missy who often glued herself to glamorous appeals on contrastive grounds is mind-boggling. Nothing much to mark on other star-casts as Preity herself eclipses everyone around.

Giles Nuttegen's cinematography is honky-dory of its kind. Especially, in the frames where we get to watch the shots placed within the confined walls of Toronto's house is top-notching. Giles has been so keen on filling the screens with specified tones adapting to scenarios. Moreover, he treads applying the psychological-aspects of getting viewers adhered to screens.  Nothing else to do with other technical aspects as musical scores could've been furthermore better; editing is simple sans innovativeness.

Deepa deserves a grand round of applause for her yet another approach towards feminism. But what stops us from getting ahead of appreciating her is dropping an inappropriate idea of fancy into a serious subject.

Certainly, it would have worked if Deepa had set out of her box and adapted some fantasy-based stories like Cinderella. Why not? `Alice in the Wonderland' and `Cinderella' haps to be carrying strong female personas.

Verdict: A slight disappointment from Deepa

Rating : **

Rating: 0 / 5.0

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