Saturday, February 02, 2013


Three To Tangle

Bejoy Nambiar’s first film Shaitan had shown tremendous promise, and also a control of the craft that comes from experience, observation and, perhaps, watching a lot of international cinema.

His second film, David, works as an idea, but is so uneven in narrative structure, pace and momentum, that the impact of its undeniable visual and aural artistry is lost.  The viewer come away, empty-handed after a densely packed two and a half hours, a feeling that a lot was said in beautiful words, but nothing really communicated. There is supposed to be a point to it—a pseudo philosophical ‘sometimes the wrong thing is the right thing’—but it is drowned in the general rambling.

There are three men named David, living in different cities at three different points of time.  David of 1975 London is Neil Nitin Mukesh—his story shot in luminous black and white, with great attention to period detailing.  David is the right hand man and foster son of a gangster Iqbal Ghani (Akarsh Khurana), with a troubled past and messy love story with Ghani’s ward Noor (Monica Dogra). In terms of emotional heft, this one works best, but then the gangster rivalry and random, cold-blooded killing is so overdone in films, that it’s beyond cliché. Two oddities here – the Indian government sends assassins to kill Ghani which is unlikely; and the other, Milind Soman standing in the background, glowering silently.

The second David in 1999 Mumbai is a dread-locked musician (Vinay Virmani) whose carefree existence is shattered when his father (Nasser), a priest, is attacked by Hindu fundamentalists led by a vicious politician (Rohini Hattangady).  The third David—and this is the story that doesn’t work at all—is Vikram, an alcoholic fisherman in 2010 Goa, who falls in love with his friend’s deaf-mute fiancée (Isha Sharvani). Tabu plays his friend, a massage parlour owner who advises him on matters of the heart, and whose words are contradicted by the ghost of David’s dead father (Saurabh Shukla).

The stories don’t intersect, except as a very slight brush towards the end, and the one thing in common are the various shades of a father-son relationship shared between the three men and their dads.  Good performances all round, but no surprises. And a crackling soundtrack.

Nambiar tries to mix edgy, whimsical, dark and comic—the result is not entirely satisfying.


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