Vantage point

Saturday, October 21, 2006


Nagesh Kukunoor's Dor has a lot going for it. A true story which is touching without being melodramatic. Excellent locales in the form of the hills of Himachal and the dunes of Rajasthan. Good editing, similar to Iqbal, which makes the film crisp.

And yet, as the end credits rolled I felt disappointed. Mainly because of the two leading ladies. Gul Panag and Ayesha Takia were both mouthing their dialogues as if they were written using the roman alphabet. There was no fluidity in their diction and the dialogue delivery jarred. This made even the most powerful scenes seem tepid.

Shreyas Talpade however excelled as the talkative behrupia. Perhaps to compensate for making him stay quiet during the entire movie in Iqbal, Kukunoor has given him a lot to say. There are accents, there are wisecracks, there's mimicry, there's even a drunken scene. Talpade, who I realised bears an uncanny resemblence to Ritesh Deshmukh. However he is far more talented than the mukhyamantriputra.

Other Iqbalites making an appearance are the competent Girish Karnad and Pratiksha Lonkar.

But the film is supposed to belong to the two young ladies, and I feel Kukunoor went horribly wrong with the casting. Panag is still able to pull of the confident-independent-minded girl to a large extent. But Takia seems as convincing a Rajasthani widow as Dave Chapelle would a Santa Claus. She should stick to playing perky well-stacked young woman roles.

One high point of the movie was the portrayal of the relationship between the behrupia(Talpade) and Zeenat(Panag). Especially the scene where the behrupia confesses his love to her is well-handles.

So overall, Dor is worth a watch. But definitely not Kukunoor's best. Though it does give an insight into why Gul Panag didn't become a successful mainstream actress like so many Miss Indias before. No, it's got nothing to do with acting or diction.... Aishwarya is successful isn't she? It's because Gul Panag is probably the one human being alive who dances worse than me. Check her out during the kajrare-in-the-desert sequence. She can be the poster girl for all us two-left-feeters.