October 7, 2006

Woh Lamhe-Review

Filed under: Most Read,movie reviews,Movies,opinions — Kaveeta Oberoi Kaul @ 8:32 pm
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Few directors in India have left me wanting for more. One of them is Mahesh Bhatt. He possessed a rare sensitivity and astute talent in detailing human emotions If you notice I have intentionally switched to the past tense, since he has declared his resignation from active ‘direction’ of films or so he says…most of the films under his banner presently smack of the “Bhatt Saab’ touch…for better or worse.

It is only natural then that a film touted as being biographical, encapsulating the relationship Mahesh Bhatt shared with yesteryears heroine Parveen Babi had me earnestly awaiting a trip to the theatres. Although this is the third venture into the very same chapter of his life..earlier two being ‘Arth’ , ‘Phir Teri Kahani Yaad Ayee’. Come to think of it, this must be a record of sorts! How many directors have ‘exploited’ a relationship three times over?? Was it love which dictated this obsession with vicarious enactment of the ‘glorious years? Or, if one is to believe the less compassionate anti Bhatt brigade, merely a cashing in on a chapter which deserved to have been buried in dignity of silence..after all the woman was dead and incapable of validating the veracity of events!

Parveen Babi , I must confess had been a charmer. I had met her on a couple of occasions, where the sharing of our birthdays had sparked off a pleasant chat . It was the first time for both of us to have met someone born the same day. That she was a beauty is an understatement..simply put, very akin to a Porcelain doll, exquisite and delicate. To match that vision with the last photograph, taken a little before her demise, left one dumbfounded and had turned out to be such a bummer for her!!

The film took off from a point when the heroine was already in an ‘abusive to the core’, relationship, despite being a Star’. Her vulnerability was the reason for the magnetic attraction to a director who perhaps was at a juncture in his life when success was elusive. He needed a break, so his calculated manipulation of the womans emotions brought him the desired result.. From here, the film within a scene or two catapults the audience into believing that such a man would then risk his career, life, future and happiness to sincerely tend a ‘schizophrenic woman’ prone to violence and unreasonability of behaviour.. The lack of graphing emotional quotient in the story having badly faltered, I think the audience then failed to relate with the ensuing turn of events.

It is a great advantage for a film to broadcast its ‘based on a true story’ credentials. Automatically, as it were, the audience happily resigns itself to the sequence of events, without much ado. Notwithstanding, the script and director , I am sorry to say, lost out on taking the audience through a journey which could have been at once painful, beautiful , sensitive and emotional. This , mainly because the reality of script was partially true,(despite their claims ) the pathos resultantly diminished to half as well.. ‘Arth’ the original, and most closely related to the actual life of Mahesh Bhatt, was dissimilar in one aspect, which probably was the most important, and totally missing in this interpretation.. the fact that the Director was a much married man, now involved in an extra marital relationship with an actress, who was slowly losing her mind. The extraordinariness of the situation was best brought out in that film..this then deteriorated into a much chewed on cud of the same beaten to death emotion and circumstance..what a pity!!

It appeared almost as if, the Director, who, to begin with, in search success had latched on to this actress, was still exploiting her by flogging the privacy of their life together, again and again, relentlessly , yet, in search…Of what. this time?.. Acclaim..fame..pity..admiration..or plain greed??

Had this been just another film, perhaps the parameters of evaluation might have differed . Whether, it would have even in that case translated into a successful film on all counts, is debatable. For one the expansiveness of a stars life in its myriad hues, the glitz, glamour and the loneliness amidst it all,was totally missing. None of the characters were etched with deftness,, therefore failed to strike a chord with the viewers.

The post intermission scenes in Goa, were the best in the film and redeemed the story to a large extent. I suspect, what worked there was the location of the house,simply superb, and the texture of the scenes..they smelt..TRUE. It was almost as if one was taking a peek into real moments of a real couple caught in the dilemma of a sick mind and a loving heart..this was the only portion that left one numb with empathy for the characters..Probably, Mr. Bhatt had personally supervised the writing and direction, while vacationing in Goa.. Otherwise how does one explain the marked difference between the handling of scenes and treatment of narrative, all of a sudden?

Most films dealing with ‘schizophrenic paranoia’ leave it to the imagination of the audience, and the skill of the actor to convey the trauma of the patient. .a case in point Aparna Sens”Park avenue’ and the earlier two by Mahesh Bhatt. This film however an added character , that of the ‘friend Rani’ who existed in the mind of the heroine. She was given a face. This definitely worked for the audience to empathise with the fear experienced, since her appearance was scary, to the hilt. A nifty addition that lent a dimension and layer which in an otherwise weak script, manged to jolt the audience, simultaneously identifying with the disease in question.

Kangana as the female protagonist, mustered up a performance which is noteworthy especially because she is a relative newcomer. Her first film was ‘Gangster’ also from the Bhatt stable.Though she may not fit into the accepted mould of Bollywood, yet she cannot be ignored henceforth..she will make her mark. Shiney Ahuja has displayed better histrionics in his earlier films.He definitely did not look the part, which ought to have been also the directors department, if not initiative. Neither was he as convincing. Although in all fairness to him, this is in comparison with his own earlier standard established in ‘Hazaaron khwaahishein aisi’.

Music was pleasant but tunes clearly were ‘inspired’. was almost as if someone from the Bhatt camp went to Pritam with cd’s that needed to be re-arranged..cannot blame the music director there.. no one argues with Mahesh Bhatt.

The director, Mohit Suri, is young , has a long way to go in years and maturity. nevertheless a promising beginning. He understands story telling, in its barest form..subtle nuances have evaded his sense of aesthetics so far.

All in all a film which left me wanting for more..not as in wanting more ..of Mahesh Bhatt.


  1. if this was a true depiction,then it is really sad. But I would like to question it from the ethics point of view of mahesh many times will he speak of how he looked after her??? and his present wife soni and their grown up daughters…how will they feel if their peers speak of their fathers relationship??
    I think the man is always out to exploit his life and his stories. I believe even his mother once abused him after she saw the film based on her life..ive forgotten the name..he is quite loony….
    Frankly if my guy ever went all out to make our private moments public, i would shoot him.

    Comment by neha — October 8, 2006 @ 11:49 am | Reply

  2. “Frankly if my guy ever went all out to make our private moments public, i would shoot him.”

    the last line sums it all 🙂 n hope the bullet hits the ‘bulls’ eye!:)
    everything sells n sell everything.. in the name of art.. articulate n wat not… sum affairs, luuuve n all… its all made to be broken nowadayz i guess n so we try sobbing to the old flames on screen…
    saw munnaB yesterday… din see broken hearts, smiled, laughed.. felt happy that all is not lost! sumtimes reels can really make u buoyed- specially wen life has spun quite a few deadly googlies:))

    ps: plz read the scribblez on my blog:)

    Comment by saptarshi — October 8, 2006 @ 6:48 pm | Reply

  3. Interesting. Haven’t we seen it all in the movie “Arth” which starred Shabana Azmi, Kulbhushan Kharbanda and Raj Kiran.

    Comment by Hiren — October 9, 2006 @ 9:58 am | Reply

  4. ‘tu hi mera shab hai subah hai’..was all that worked for me in this flic.

    Comment by sanjay — October 9, 2006 @ 10:28 am | Reply

  5. @ Neha..its not totally unheard of ..the tradition of epiloguing , if you like, an incident or a chapter out of ones life. Nonetheless, what is required from the ethical standpoint is a conscience approval..will it hurt those involved? will It embarsss others? what will I gain by indulging? not indulging in this project?

    often others experiences are a nudge to our better thinking ways. It can trigger a response which is positive..not always though. Sometimes its merely a self indulgent exercise and helps no one not even the initiator..(sigh).. its a free world and choices are free as well..An uplifting experience should be the basis of  all art ..according to moi..

    @ Hiren,

    Oh yes..And so much better..have written of it in the post.

    @ Sanjay,
    yes..soft and pulsating..rare combination.

    Comment by kaveetaakaul — October 9, 2006 @ 11:51 am | Reply

  6. ahoy! break from the blog-o-sphere… long time no see? howz u? seems like a long time though must be just a day but then… therez no food for thought naa… do write in soon n read mine too:)
    ps: anything on the bangalore front of wat i had asked u..

    Comment by saptarshi — October 11, 2006 @ 9:03 pm | Reply

  7. Dear Kaveetaa, don’t laugh but, India has always been a part of my heart, from early childhood memories, to present.

    As a young girl, we had no tv until I was about eleven. I saw my first colour tv at age 14-15? I was amazed!

    I was a movie-going girl. Me, my sister and gal-pals! We went to see every single Sinbad movie ever out! I had a huge crush on Sabu, whom played Abu in Thief of Bhagdhad.

    Not sure who the directors were of those classics; but, I’d give just about anything to have every one of the various video’s! I think there were a few different Sinbad actors–Patrick Wayne(son of John Wayne) was one of them, with Jane Seymour, in Eye of the Tiger.

    They played a significant part, in the growth of my imagination, and the love of India culture, through them.

    When one of these movies come on tv even now; I feel like a child again, and leap to get some popcorn if I have some, and a delightful place, finds my playful spirit…

    with loving kindness,

    Comment by North — October 12, 2006 @ 9:06 am | Reply

  8. Hi,Its amazing you know, Saptarshi..not been away.Cannot possibly.Its life threatening..this blog thing. What have i got meself into?..’warna hum bhi hote they kaam ke’..(sigh)…I have it in mind the bangalore affair..will keep you posted as and when..Enjoy the uncertainties and thrills of life..we only live once.

    Hey have you been?? Couldnt help myself from giggling at your comment….who knows..maybe you were an Indian in your previous avatar:)Spirit retains it all. As a child I worked in an MGM film called ‘Maya’.It was quite a learning experience..after having worked in our own Bollywood. The level of professionalism and discipline amazed much as our culture amazed the foreigners who came to shoot here. We have so much to exchange ..really!

    Comment by kaveetaakaul — October 12, 2006 @ 1:24 pm | Reply

  9. Hey Kaveetaa, I am doing well; and preparing for winter to arrive! Yes, I have NO doubt, I was many cultures in past lives. India has always had a secure place in my heart.

    Awesome, about working in the film Maya!! That must have been quite an experience for you for sure! Was it shot in the States or there, in India?

    Comment by North — October 12, 2006 @ 7:56 pm | Reply

  10. It was shot here North..theme centred around India. It was memorable..shall write of it in my memoirs some day hopefully..Or, better still..let it big has to move on..what is the point in regurgitating the past..lets live for tomorrow..glorious tomorrow:)

    Comment by kaveetaakaul — October 13, 2006 @ 6:56 am | Reply

  11. haha… sumtimes the wordz rush out n so the whites of the paper are just conquered- aint any limits n bounds to this kingdom naa:)
    lifez curves, waves n waterz washing over me.. n sumwhere all getting churned into wordz of the soul n just scribblin in.. lifez just one small journey but of late realised therez beauty in each dimension- not turning philosophic but just keeping the mind waves rolling… n thanks for subtle wordz of advice 🙂
    nowadayz, its all one man army- lost or won who cares?! keep smilin!!

    Comment by saptarshi — October 13, 2006 @ 11:39 am | Reply

  12. Dear Kaveetaa, I beg to differ. Some memoirs are merited by it’s validity, and it’s variety, it’s experience and spleandours. You have reached these pinnacles; your story would not be a regurgitation, but rather a memento of the past, your roots. India’s roots too.(smile.)

    Tomorrow’s are remembered for their impacts of yesterday(wink.)

    with loving kindness,

    Comment by North — October 14, 2006 @ 8:22 am | Reply

  13. Hey north..your warmth is touching..your spirit Northward bound..really!! Way up..
    maybe some day..if time so presents itself, wll write it all:) And the first copy will be yours.

    Comment by kaveetaa kaul — October 14, 2006 @ 2:25 pm | Reply

  14. I would like to have a true tune for the song “To Jo Nahin” of Woh Lamhe for my Mobile. I love the very song very much and think you would send me a tune to my mail ID very soon.

    Comment by Vijay Choudhary — July 29, 2007 @ 7:39 pm | Reply

  15. hi to all of you. i have applied for start my career in india’show biz im also applying here with great confidence.give me a chance to start my career in india.+90345-4262842

    Comment by ayaz — August 25, 2007 @ 11:20 pm | Reply

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