Friday, May 27, 2011

Kuuch Luv Jaisa

Some Vows, some lows

Director: Barnali Shukla
Starring: Shefali Shah, Rahul Bose, Sumeet Raghavan
Stars: **1/2



After Stanley Ka Dabba that explored the word of dabbas in schools, this week's Kuuch Luv Jaisa is a similar slice-of-life film, where in a downcast housewife takes off alone on a bizarre one day adventure. The film looks at a familiar domestic situation where romance starts to fade off from a marriage, and a slow resentment starts to seep in. The film starts with the beautiful title track, where the couple's honeymoon period slowly over the years turns to a humdrum existence with their two children.

Its protagonist, Madhu ( Shefali Shah) is tied down with house work, looking harried and tired in a crumpled salvaar kameez. Her life has slipped into a predictable routine, and the only thing to look forward to is cursing the maid, as she jokingly tells her mother on the phone. The trigger point comes when her husband, Shravan (Sumeet Raghavan) forgets her birthday. The date is February 29, a leap year, a date that comes once in four years, to emphasise the callousness. Madhu is initially upset, but the disappointment soon gives away to rebellious rage after she has a nasty argument with her husband. She takes off and goes on a shopping overdrive. She goes for a makeover, smokes, and looks around to heighten her sense of adventure.

She spots a man called Raghav (Rahul Bose) sitting next to her in a restaurant and somehow assumes he's a detective. Being in an excited mood, she wonders if she can be part of one of his cases. In reality, Raghav is a criminal on the run. The journey ends up forming an unsaid bond between the two, that comes to influence their lives.

Though this is an original desi flick, Kuuch Luv Jaisa could remind you of films like Wong Kar-Wai's In the Mood For Love and The Bridges Of Madison County. The point at which Madhu leaves her home is plausible, and Shefali being a natural actress to the core makes it all very believable. Again, there is a great subtlety to Rahul Bose act and he makes his character a real life and blood one. What proves to be a major issue with the film is the sub plot involving Raghav's girlfriend (Neetu Chandra) who is double crossing him. This angle is confusing and for the longest time, you don't know what's happening. Also, Madhu's character begins to appear too naive to get into such a potentially dangerous situation. Their attraction is asserted too soon by the script. Raghav is laconic and introverted, while Madhu is bubbly and talkative. It's not impossible to see why they could get attracted to one another, but that process does not come through in the most effective way. The result is that you find Madhu's emotional outburst towards the climax a little too overstated and premature.

Sumeet Raghavan's character as the slightly overbearing, smug husband is realistic, however, his performance itself is a little jerky.

Debutant director/writer Barnali Shukla, also actor Saurabh Shukla's wife, is a talent to watch out for. She can portray delicate emotions well, and the psychological underpinnings of the characters come through beautifully. Kuuch Luv Jaisa had the potential to be a truly good film, but there are serious weaknesses that prevent it from being a really memorable experience.

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