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.