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Monday, 19 April 2010

Unworthy cousin (Anita)

Anita spells the decadence of Raj Khosla's house of cinema. Gone is the splendour of Mera Saaya, the cold chills of Woh Kaun Thi, the tautness of the script, the haunting melody and above all, the superlative performances. This 1967 thriller is a sad and unconvincing sequel to its grand predecessors.
The director who gave us intriguing thrillers before, lets film lovers down in this last installment of the mystery trilogy with Sadhana. True, he tries to conjure the same suspense, drama and romance, but Anita pales in comparison to his previous ventures.
The biggest mistake, I feel, is casting Manoj Kumar as the male lead. After the immaculate portrayal of Thakur Rakesh Singh by Sunil Dutt, Kumar bungles. He lacks Dutt's charisma. There is the similar thread of melancholy that rips apart these lovers' hearts (on the death of their beloved) but where we empathised with the Thakur, Neeraj's (Kumar) grief hardly effects a sympathy. He broods, but lacks the dignity and the sobriety. He maintains one expression on his face. His speech is a monotonous drawl. The worst part, Kumar sports dull monochromatic clothes throughout. Very boring, to say the least... Though he was dashing in Woh Kaun Thi, he looks disinterested here...
Sadhana does try to replicate the magic of Mera Saaya, but her efforts fall flat on their face. She looks very old, wears hideous wigs, slips into chic western attires, but nothing can save the ship from sinking. The lost glances are there, but they fail to flummox. She is not the firebrand Geeta (Mera Saaya) anymore. Even when she is trying to confuse Neeraj as a saffron-clas sadhvi crooning a bhajan, she lacks the mysterious air. In short, her act is want of the charm and elegance...she fails to ignite the same sparks...
Anita is one tedious journey full of glitches. The main culprit is the script. I'm yet to gauge what went wrong... Even the support cast is lacklustre. You have a utterly confused father, a stupid suitor, inane buffoons and sorry sets. The comedy truncates the already slack plot. The performances leave much to be desired, everything looks forced, yes even the songs (I've heard better music by Laxmikant Pyarelal). The tracks are sad cousins to the harmonious music of Woh Kaun Thi and Mera Saaya.
Anita is a 19-year-old girl who suddenly commits suicide. Neeraj, her lover is shattered and strives to get to the bottom of it all. Anita's father reveals to Neeraj that her's was a case of a split personality disorder, something that the crestfallen lover finds hard to digest. One fine day, he spots Anita at a place, where she was said to have killed herself. Understandably baffled, he realises that Anita's suicide may have more sinister versions to it. He keeps spotting her in different places and in various avatars. Surely, this is one case, shrouded in mystery...
Khosla tries concocting another spine-chilling tale but something is missing from the scene. Perhaps, it's the pace, the enigma, the nailbiting action or the eye for detail. Or, maybe, the earlier two films were so earth-shatteringly good that Khosla, unintentionally though, couldn't manage to better his own act...


  1. There're a couple of rules in life everyone should follow:
    1. Call it quits at the height of glory
    2. And dont' trying rehashing things, especially films, more than, may be, once.
    Another nice post.
    Keep it up!

  2. @Dwaipayan: Yes, rehashing can never help. Thank you for the comment :)