Saturday, November 18, 2006



Chander Behl’s Janani, just skims over themes like surrogate motherhood, and possible incest (horrors!), but its treatment is loud, slow and very TV-like with its rapid zooms and pans plus the noisy background music that almost never lets up.

When young lovers (Vineet Raina, Sonica Handa) discover that they are brother and sister, both go into a suicidal frenzy. Respective mothers then narrate a complicated back story.

Urmila (Ayesha Jhulka) and her husband (Mohnish Bahl), offer to pay for the expensive operation of the son of Akanksha (Bhagyashree) and her husband (Aman Verma). In gratitude, Akanksha offers to bear a child for Urmila, who is unable to conceive.

Then Akanksha’s child dies, she refuses to hand over baby, Urmila almost goes mad, gets the child and that was that. It took an almost miraculous coincidence to have the two women’s kids fall in love.

The raucous melodrama would take great patience to sit through. The surrogate mother bit has been done in films like Filhaal and Chori Chori Chupke Chupke, and there’s not much in terms of ideas or emotions that could be added to it. Neither the director nor the actors are really not up to dealing with such a bizarre subject and the film just has them weeping and howling endlessly. Bhagyashree adds to the tedium by saying her lines so slowly that one could run out and do an errand by the time she finishes one line.


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