Idiosyncratice Fallout (March 25,2006)
I had my apprehensions. First and foremost of course was the fact that the movie was being distributed by the Times group, a group which has a known penchant for hyping up mediocrity and sometimes even downright crap. Interviews and puff-pieces of stars and directors, quotes and awards from obscure film festivals were being blown out the trumpet and there was a good chance of all of it backfiring and the little movie sinking among the PR paraphrenalia.
The good news is- 'Being Cyrus' manages to float. There are floundering moments, moments where the movie gasps for breath but riding on its freshness, its menacing atmosphere and a few first rate performances it manages get its foot across the line from mediocre to good.
The movie starts intriguingly. There is a sense of foreboding and a hint of the dark the moment Saif Ali Khan's mysterious "Cyrus" appears on the screen. We follow his naration and meet at what appears to be at first glance, a normal filmy Parsi family- The Setnas (Naseer and Dimple)where Cyrus applies for an apprentice position under Mr. Setna who was once a renowned scupltor but now spends his days as a recluse. Quickly, we're exposed to the dysfunction hidden in the seemingly quiet and senile family with Mrs. Setna making advances to Cyrus while Mr. Setna spends the day blitzed out of his skull, courtesy brownies. Other foreboding characters are introduced- Setna's brother Farrokh (Boman Irani)and his demure young-ish wife (Simone Singh) who seems to be more of a devil than at first glance who habitually abuse senile senior Setna. The first half is a restrained and wonderfully structured segment when director Adjania holds his cards close to his chest and manages to build up suspence credibly.
And now for the bad news- the second half. It starts with a bizzare and pretentious dream segment and then dissolves all too quickly into murder and mayhem. Blood and guts and bodies and twists and turns and presented in a series of chaotic and confusing cuts. All restraint and stmosphere excercised in the first half just suddenly gives away to a streak of homicidal insanity. (And what's with the synchronised black and white footage? You can hardly hear what they're speaking) And thus what started off as a nicely structed atmospheric and tense movie quickly descends to your average Korn music video.
The perfomances are more or less all 'well-pitched'. As mysterious and shadowy protagonist Saif Ali Khan gives his most restrained performace and lends an aura of menace to his scenes that keeps up with the mood of the movie. Naseer is as usual in top form as the doped out mr. Setna and as his brother, Boman Irani froths and hams his way delightfully in a mad-dog of a peformance. Also, mention needs to be made of Manoj Pajwa as the garrulous inspector.. funnny. The only actor that seems a tad mis-cast is Dimple. She lends her role more sophistication than is required. Someone with more of a gay abandon (Zeenat Aman perhaps) would've been better suited.
To sum it all up with the mandatory 'pun/metaphor I'd like to say that 'Being Cyrus' is passably good fare if that is, you have nowhere else to 'BE'.