Dor: How far would you go for the director you once believed in?
Doctored and calculated mush-ification doesn’t work anymore.
Dor begins with the lousiest scenes that you were glad you missed in those grandfather days ‘ tele-serials featuring Kashmir, annoyingly spiced with postcard frames from far away deserts to hint at a possible relation (wow! Who could have guessed both the stories were related!), with a desert song that doesn’t stop even when the camera moves to colder terrains. A tribute to ‘Hrishida’ does contrary to what it’s supposed to do. Yawn!
Kukunoor was the flawed genius, who seems to be losing his craft in the mist of Mumbai floodlights and production houses that would put money on anything that spells business, even if it means a cow dancing in the rain with a voice over of Shah Rukh Khan (that is when he is not busy proving that he is not worth all the applause he received by indulging in creative suicides read remakes and tasteless love triangles/quadrangles/polygons). The nervous fresh energy and natural effervescence (Rockford, Bollywood Calling, Iqbal) of his films just does not fit in with the person he is trying to become. It is all over in his last two films, and literally murders the potential of the latter (Dor). When he used cinematic clichés in Iqbal, he was pardoned in the name of courage to attempt a done-to-death fairytale, which he rather cleverly and comfortably pulled off capitalizing on the single most annoying waste of money, resources, time and joblessness- cricket.(excuse the caustic attack, I mean the way the passion for the game is cashed in on). In this one, he almost gives the impression that he has happily disowned his inventive origins and started enjoying the formula that has wasted many a similar promising talents.
But when the focus shifts to Dor, it just does not leave any room for anyone who has liked the raw, tainted beauty of his ‘indie’ affairs, to digest the goings-on.
There is no point going deeper in the flaws of the film, they range from predictable casting to annoying close-ups (that check one’s patience to tolerate the proximity to melon-faced Ayesha Takia, a similar disaster struck some unfortunate souls, albeit at a price, in a calamity called Home Delivery. However, on the brighter side of things, her BQ-Blonde Quotient helps her in this dumb endeavor read a village girl’s portrayal) to Kadar Khan-ish monologues on the status of women and exploitation to Karnad uncle playing himself for the nth time to an helpless over-dependence on a happy ending working everytime.
The positives? The concluding hour that tries to cover up the Iranian imitation, able performances by the lead trio with Takia surprisingly leading the pack, Gul-don’t-call-me-Kashmiri-I’m-a-punjabi-Panag tries hard to deliver in spite of her mundane ‘behenji’ character, Shreyas Talpade succeeds in getting over his Iqbal hangover to an extent (his Comedy Show routines are a nice break to the otherwise maudlin and sluggish screenplay). The chemistry between Shreyas and Panag is intelligently and refreshingly handled. And a dependable theme song (by the Mitwa guy) works in midst of uninspired folk track versions.
On the whole, Dor is a flawed concoction, but seeing the blunders being made left, right and centre in the name of ‘HIT’ films; it is fare superior to any I-don’t-wanna-name film.
Nagesh Kukunoor somehow always gives one an uncomfortable emotion of an honest attempt failing to attain puberty. He resists going deeper and in detail of the narrative in a sadistic way, and does a fast rush-through-the-pages of the script in a detached manner. Probably that could be the intention but one can’t always accept superficial attempts of greatness in name of ‘cool/hatke’ content/plot and creative diversity or range which he always tries to boast of by attempting a thriller and a comedy and a fairytale.
Moving on, I have been wondering when will we stop making films that feature: -Tom Alter in an Independence drama -Padhaaro Mhaare Des dance routines in rural flicks -Garnier-face-washed ‘poor’ villagers with inconsistent body hair growth in a supposedly ‘continuous’ shot -Widows losing all hormonal desperation in one scene where they hear about their husbands’ demise -Kashmiris who never think beyond mouthing indigestible jargons like ‘watan, majhab, mohabbat aur jung…, mulk ke waaste…. -Sardarjis as uber-cool fashion exponents of truck drivers sporting Tommy’s -TRAIN SEQUENCES in the climax! The train that refuses to leave until everything sets right -Crying mothers, abusive ultra-violent fathers, sluggish brothers who act like a vegetable -Please stop it! I am willing to pay more!!