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Sona Spa review: Snooze alert!

Movie:
Sona Spa
Director:
Makrand Deshpande
Cast:
Nivedita Bhattacharya, Devyanim, Neha Iyyer, Shruti Vyas, Naseeruddin Shah
Avg user rating:
It's a seductive idea. Most people I know are sleep-starved. A good night's sleep is underrated in our speeding lives. Like a line from the film says: Duniya mein paisa, shohrat bahut hai, par neend ki kami hai (there is enough money and fame in the world, but there is a scarcity of sleep).

So imagine if other people could fill in for you - sleeping on your behalf and you get all the benefits. You wake up fresh and energetic as if you've slept like a baby. You'd have to pay for this service of course, so in that sense, you'd actually be 'buying' sleep.

We're introduced to such a place called the Sona Spa. The spa's employees sleep on behalf of its harried clients. And as Naseeruddin Shah's character Baba Dayanand clarifies in a cringe-inducing dialogue about the Spa's lady employees, 'They won't sleep with you, they'll sleep 'for' you.' Right.

Indeed, in this unique case of outsourcing, all the 'sleep workers' are women, and all the clients men. And what clients! From cross-dressers to sleazy men, no one who visits the spa seems to be normal. Clearly, they are in need of more help than just outsourcing their sleep.

The twist in the tale happens when these girls, while sleeping on behalf of the clients, also get access to their dreams. And their dreams are far from pretty!

The story holds promise and had the potential to make a deliciously bizarre film. But it required rock-solid aesthetics and performances to make the film plausible. Save a few actors, the cast gives an essentially mediocre performance.

Writer-director Makarand Deshpande (Shahrukh Bola Khubsoorat Hai Tu), who adapts the story from his play by the same name, is on tricky ground here. He introduces too many characters, each developed only so much. The viewer is drowned in this cacophony of half-baked characters and sub-plots.

Flitting furiously between a sci-fi movie and an inside Mumbai's underbelly slice-of-life, the film ends up being none. The film might have you think back to psychological thrillers like Inception where dreams and thoughts could be transferred. But these exciting ideas need to be executed well, they need coherence.

An interesting film could have emerged from this rock-solid concept. A film about people engaging in the "neend ka business". It's ironic that this film turned out a snooze-fest. Too bad, really!

Rating: 2 stars

 

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