ReviewWriter: Nurliana Kamaruddin
Writer Ratings:Overall: Cast:
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What love can be more pure, more real, than that of a childhood love felt even before love was understood? Given a chance, everyone will compare this story to Sanjay Leela Bhansali's "Devdas". Some might even go so far as to say this is a poor man's version of the mega opulent love story. Though the story does come from the same author who penned the novel "Devdas", "Parineeta" is not a "Devdas" remake.
Based on the novel of the same title, "Parineeta" threads its own road under debutante director Pradeep Sarkar who brings Sarat Chandra Chatterjee's story to life. Chatterjee is a master storyteller, not only because of his beautiful poetic prose, but also because of the timeless appeal of his stories, the sincerity of his characters, and the pureness of their love and all this was beautifully captured on screen in "Parineeta". I must say this is the best onscreen interpretation to the novel I have seen thus far.
The story opens on the eve of Shekhar's (Saif Ali Khan) wedding to Gayatri (Diya Mirza). Shekhar is not the happy bridegroom that he should be, even though he is getting married to the beautiful and rich Gayatri. The audience soon learns the cause of this - Lolita, his childhood friend and love. Here, the audience can easily establish that Shekhar is torn by his love for Lolita.
Before the wedding, he slips off to Lolita's home to talk to the elderly lady who lives there and Lolita (Vidya Balan) makes her appearance. There is tension between them as Shekhar refuses to see Lolita, yet Lolita appears seductive and tries to woo him thought it is established that she is already a married woman.
Even from the start of the movie, you are given a good scope at how much care has been given by the director in bringing this period drama to life. Set in Calcutta in the 1960s, "Parineeta" has a very realistic feel of time to it as opposed to the magnificent though bewildering sets of "Devdas". I believe too much background distracts from the story. That happened in "Devdas", but did not happen here. Everything from the costumes to the slight sepia tinge of the film was well-placed and worked with the story well.
Saif Ali Khan proves that he is talented in his own right and has achieved fame in his own right, not just because he is the son of famous actress Sharmila Tagore. Watching him in "Parineeta", it's no surprise that Saif is now one of Bollywood's most sought-after leading man. His recent hits have all been mostly comedy roles, but here, Saif proves that he can handle heavy melodrama just as well as any of the other three famous Khans can. I applaud this man for a job well done.
Newcomer Vidya Balan is a gem of a find. I'm sure that this woman can go far. Her Lolita is as innocent as she is stubborn, playful as she is dignified, and mostly, passionate as she is adoring towards Shekhar. Her first scene when she calls to Shekhar at the staircase speaks of sensuality and when she weeps for him later into the movie at the same staircase, you would think her heart was breaking.
As for the music, my favourite would be Kasto Mazaa
and Piya Bole
. Sonu Nigam shows strength in the vocals and Shreya Ghoshal served sufficiently well. Though there were no big dance numbers, the music was listenable and what I liked best is that the song pieces didn't drag. Still, one rather out-of-place song was Kasisi Paheli Zindagani
, an item jazz number featuring none other than Rekha. Yup - Rekha - looking like an old diva who still has it, and man, does that woman still have it. It's a good song though, just a little out-of-place in the story.
The only grouse I have about "Parineeta" is the ending. A little asinine, you know, like how most Hindi movies can be. It was a bit over dramatic as opposed to the slow composed pace the movie had taken throughout. Glad to say though that this movie has a simple, satisfactory, happy ending. All in all, an enchanting tale.Cinema Online, 23 September 2008