Wednesday, November 09, 2005


Parineeta is an extremely well-made, classy love story. It deals with the age-old theme of love but its different in the sense that its a love story whose characters never express their love. The movie relies on its characters bottling up their emotions inside their hearts and manages to touch our hearts in the process.

Shekar(Saif Ali Khan), a music composer, and Lolita(Vidya Balan) have been friends since childhood. They both sense that their feelings for the other have been transformed from friendship but are reluctant to express them. Meanwhile, Lolita’s uncle has mortgaged their house to Shekar’s father, who is a businessman first and a friend next. Girish (Sanjay Dutt), the London-born brother of a family friend, seems like a knight in shining armor when he offers solutions to Lolita’s problems.

Parineeta is proof that its the way a story is handled rather than the story itself that matters in the end. The movie's story is a familiar love triangle with familiar elements(like childhood friends becoming lovers a la Piriyaadha Varam Vendum). But the movie still seems fresh because of the way the love stories are handled. The romance between Saif and Vidya and Sanjay Dutt's feelings for Vidya are both understated and handled with class. While the former makes us smile with the pair's unspoken feelings, the latter makes us smile with some sweet moments.

The movie wouldn't have been as successful if it handled just the romance well. Almost every key scene in the film has multiple layers of emotions as people put on a façade to hide their true feelings, be it happiness, love, anger or jealousy. But the director lets the audience understand these through the actors’ smiles, expressions and body language rather than spelling them out. So the movie is always restrained but still very emotional because of the realization that some strong emotions are bubbling just under the surface.

For a movie whose characters did such a good job of internalizing emotions, the climax is disappointingly loud. With Saif breaking down a wall and the people around him cheering him on, the sequence seemed more suited for an underdog-turns-winner sports story rather than a mellow love story.

Saif Ali Khan puts in a very mature performance as the hot-headed man unable to deal with either his love or his jealousy the right way. Vidya Balan looks gorgeous in some scenes and rather pale in others. But she has very expressive eyes and puts them to good effect, especially when she is angry but unable to express it in words. Sanjay Dutt is dignified though his droopy eyes make him look like he has a hangover when the effect he is probably going for is sadness. The most loveable actor though is the one who plays Vidya’s uncle. His naiveté and innocence are very endearing and his whole face seems to light up when expressing happiness. There are a few scenes, where he expresses joy unmindful of the other person's feelings, that are just superb. The actor playing Saif’s father is perfectly cast too and has an air of sophisticated villainy.

This is the first Hindi film in a long time where I haven’t fast-forwarded the songs. The numbers blend perfectly into the film and the lyrics are situational and apt too. Though I haven't heard the songs before, they all seemed very catchy and pleasing to the ear. The movie also looks gorgeous with its lavish settings and extravagant costumes.


At 11:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, how come it didn't come into consideration for the oscars this time?.. Why Paheli and Black and no Parineeta? Balaji, have you seen Paheli yet? I haven't seen all three films and was curious to see what others were thinking about this..

As the bozos in the selecting committee for Oscar recommedation say, "Is the film culturally representative of India?" (whatever!)... I read something to the effect in (in relation to the war between Paheli and Black to make it to oscar contention).. that any film from India should be "culturally representative." What does good cinema have to do with cultural representation?

God help us!

At 5:48 AM, Blogger Munimma said...

Yep, same feelings about this movie. Ending should/could have been much better. But then what is an Indian movie without a heavy doze of melodrama!

As to comparing with Paheli, I would Paheli is more Indian, in the sense that, there is a strong, a very strong, Rajasthani flavor in it. And the climax was not this bad :-)

At 6:26 AM, Blogger Preethi said...

Totally agree with U Balaji. "Parineeta" is a classy film except for the usual cinematic climax. The "breaking of the wall" sequence could have been easily avoided. Another misfit in the movie was Sanjay Dutt. He is a good actor and I like him in movies like "Munnabhai MBBS". But in this movie, he was looking too old & boring. But all these glitches are trivial when compared to the songs. I am a great fan of melodies and every song in the movie is just amazing.

At 6:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

somehow i could not agree with you bb about this movie.

i dont know why, but i feel the movie lacks something that i could not express. saif is at his best in the role that is beaten to death by him in a few movies earlier (ofcourse with a slight flavour change of he showing more dosage of jealous than earlier. but yeah it is for this ease he is chosen for that role, isn't it). but still.....

one saving grace is vidya balan. very good looking at the same time acted very well too.

despite all these, i somehow feel a kind of hallow in the movie making.

At 8:37 AM, Blogger Balaji said...

sandya, no havent seen 'paheli' yet. my wife did see it though but she wasn't that impressed.

i think the 'cultural representation' bit is a good idea since it gives us some differentiation. i think
'parineeta' fits the bill there too and would've made a good oscar entry.

bhuvan, tamil movies have 5 or max 6 songs. but hindi movies usually have(or atleast seem to have) a whole lot more and when the songs r standard duets or item numbers, i feel like ff-ing them. thats all :) considering the last few hindi movies i've seen ('no entry', 'maine pyar kyun kiya', 'waqt', etc.) i dont think i've missed much. as far as i can remember, the last movie i didn't ff the songs was 'swades'.

preethi, me no fan of sanjay dutt either :)

cacophonix, as always, thots on a movie r subjective :)

At 10:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice review.. One thing that struck me so differently was the screenplay.. When the movie starts, the role of Vidya and her relationship with Saif are portrayed in a suspenseful fashion... and as the story unfolds, we get to know them better..

Apart from the loud climax, the other sore point in the movie was the sudden, unnecessary but poetically portrayed love-making scene. Made me think that so typical of a Bengali director - brilliant in story, technical aspects, performance etc.. but cant somehow get away without some intimacy.

At 12:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

should check it out...talking of artsy movies, have u guys seen parts/all of Satyajit Ray's Apu Trilogy...that remains one of my much-cherished moments in front of an "art" movie...i liked the last part (Apur Sansar) the best...check it out...u'd be surprised to see how much Mani Ratnam has been inspired by Ray.

At 12:37 PM, Blogger Balaji said...

raju, good point. that was a terrific start to the movie that did the job of making u sit up and be interested.

ram, u definitely should.
and no, i haven't seen any of the 3 movies in the apu trilogy :( but i think its the 1st time i'm hearing of mani being inspired by them :)

At 12:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some are gold. chinna thambi

At 1:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

bb, i was referring to apur sansar...the initial portions of roja and especially the mohanlal-ash pre/post wedding scenes definitely have shades of this movie.

asokan, thaavani kanavugall marandhuttengaley!!

At 6:47 PM, Blogger Arvind Srinivasan said...

Am gonna watch the movie over the weekend - will use a reference point :) and come back with feedback ;)

At 8:37 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

loved it so much that i asked the mother in law to buy the dvd before she came here from india..


dont you just love the camera where the girl is on the tree swing and the guy is playing the guitar and the pigeons are in the foreground ?

At 10:11 PM, Blogger Balaji said...

asokan, konja naala aala kaanom. vandha udane unga pet movie pathi pesa start panitengale :)

sundar, didn't love it as much as u did. but u're right about the cinematography. there were some great shots scattered throughout...

At 10:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

bhuvan, ivlo capemaarithanam koodaathu!!
just kidding...

At 12:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey bj dude,

imo parineeta was nothing more than a melodramatic, over the top, pretentious remake of the original classic

check out bimal roy’s 1953 parineeta - it is a masterpiece!

and abt the oscar entry..

to send any film other than ‘hazaaron khwaishein aisi’ is a crime imo


At 3:08 PM, Blogger Balaji said...

vee-jay, thats one of the fun things about movies rt? can't think of movies more apart than 'kung-fu hustle' and 'parineeta'. but each is enjoyable in its own way :) glad to know u enjoyed KH :)

bhuvan, so online impostor?! avlo famous ippo neenga :)

vic, havent seen the original so can't comment on it. but defly didnt feel this one was melodramatic or over-the-top. those r 2 things i hate in movies too. the climax was both those things but i thot the rest of the movie was very subtle and quiet.

still havent seen HKA. but plan to c it very soon...

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