Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Being Cyrus


Being Cyrus is a taut, tightly-paced, no-frills film that dares to be different from the run-of-the-mill Hindi films we see today. Getting rid of all those elements that are considered indispensable in Hindi films, the film(which is entirely in English) traverses a unique path, involving us and surprising us consistently throughout its running time.

Saif Ali Khan is Cyrus, a young man who shows up at the house of Dinshaw Sethna(Naseerudin Shah), a retired sculptor, and his wife Katie(Dimple Kapadia), to work as Dinshaw's apprentice. Dinshaw's brother Farokh(Boman Irani) lives in the city with his wife and his father and when Cyrus gets a chance to visit them, he sees firsthand how the father is being illtreated. He slowly begins to realize that the family is hiding a lot of secrets.

The film begins by introducing us to a bunch of characters who may not be likeable but are definitely flamboyant and therefore, interesting. We don't spend a lot of time with them(the full movie itself clocks in at a measly 90 minutes) but their characters are so sharply defined that they make a strong impression in a short time. No movie with a set of characters like this can be uninvolving!

The film then uncovers hidden relationships between the characters as it veers off into completely unexpected territory. At the exact point where the story seems to be going nowhere, the plot rears it head in riveting fashion. The movie starts to resemble a jigzaw puzzle as each new scene reveals a little more of the plot and unconnected, disjoint scenes from before fall into place cleanly. As the movie joins its dots, the big picture becomes clear to us but not until the biggest piece of the puzzle falls into place at the end.

The film never abandons its sense of (dark) humor. Through Naseer's dazed life, Boman's tiffs with a neighbor's dog and a police inspector's broken English, the movie forces us to smile even in the middle of some macabre proceedings.

The role of Cyrus doesn't demand a lot in the histrionics department but credit is due to Saif for even accepting such a role in such an offbeat film. Acting honors are shared by Naseer and Boman but in very different roles. While Naseer, with his glazed look and loose body language, nails the role of a zoned-out man, Boman rants and raves his way through his character. Fardoonji earns our sympathy in a single scene and holds onto it in every scene he is onscreen. Simone Singh is quiet and effective while Dimple is loud and ineffective. The latter's caffeinated performance almost ruins the effect of the climactic scenes.

14 Comments:

At 10:36 PM, Anonymous ram said...

bb, i meant to send u a mail, asking u to watch this film but glad u checked it out...
yes, i loved the movie the way i loved/admired match point...it's intelligent and well-scripted more than anything else...yeah, i thot the scriptwriter's dark humor was sooooo different from the run-of-the-mill slapstick kinda comedy...
Dimple- yeah, stuck out like a sore thumb...but the rest of the movie was nearly flawless...
looooooooved the way Saif used his "gloves" (wont reveal anything else...!)

 
At 10:58 PM, Anonymous vic said...

this was one of the most predictable, contrived, crap bollywood films I have seen in a long long time… am going to have to disagree w/ you guys on this one. and in terms of performances - dimple, boman and the sister were beyond obnoxious

the only thing I really got out of this film was manoj pahwa was pretty good in a supporting role

though on the topic of bollywood thrillers - have you managed to check out 'd' yet bj?

victor

 
At 10:27 AM, Anonymous shwetha said...

Heard a lot about it and want to watch this one.. is it running in theatres or was it a dvd watch?

 
At 11:19 AM, Blogger Filbert said...

This is one movie which has received some really extreme reviews, ranging from 'total crap' to 'excellent'. I should check this out pretty soon.

 
At 11:36 AM, Blogger Balaji said...

ram, so u watched a hindi movie as soon as it came out?!

vic, no surprises there since we've rarely agreed on a film. it definitely wasnt predictable and though it played me, i liked that. but talking about boman, he is supposed to be obnoxious here isnt he?? i felt he was obnoxious too but thats exactly why i thot it was a good performance. on the other hand, dimple hammed it up in a regular role...

haven't seen 'd' yet... should arrive next week from netflix...

shwetha, dvd watch

filbert, we've got those extreme reviews already in the comments! but my review should make it clear which side i am leaning towards :)

 
At 12:17 PM, Anonymous vic said...

ya I guess so, but boman has this loud, over-the-top style that he seems to carry from film to film(regardless whether the character calls for it) which I find absolutely obnoxious… I have the same problem w/ paresh rawal

but anyways, eagerly await your ‘d’ review…

victor

 
At 12:22 PM, Anonymous sks said...

nice comments on the build up of the movie. Yep it was a jigsaw puzzle and unless you followed it, you would wonder if there was picture. nice review balaji. No complaints against any actor. Great job all over.
Looking forward to your view on inside men.

 
At 1:43 PM, Anonymous ram said...

BB, nakkalu...?! :p !

 
At 6:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

'D' is total crap .. One of those special movies in bollywood which did not have any dialogues .. Pathetic attempt to recreate Company & Satya ..

 
At 11:55 PM, Anonymous vic said...

‘d’ was a great film imo. and the resemblances to ‘company’ and ‘satya’ were justified, considering ‘d’ was a prequel

here is an excellent review by an American critic - D


victor

 
At 11:43 AM, Blogger BNB said...

It's an English movie with folks who act mainly in Hindi movies. Not sure why you are comparing it to Hindi movies.

I liked it too. My take here:
http://broken-news.blogspot.com/2006/04/being-cyrus.html

 
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