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'Dozakh In Search of Heaven' review: Watch it for the powerful story!

'Dozakh In Search of Heaven' review: Watch it for the powerful story!

Source: General

By: Sonia Chopra

Critic's Rating: 3/5

Sunday 22 March 2015

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Movie Title

'Dozakh In Search of Heaven' review: Watch it for the powerful story!

Director

Zaigham Imam

Star Cast

Garrick Chaudhary, Ruby Saini, Lalit Mohan Tiwari

The film trails a small family settled in Varanasi. The ageing father is a cleric who says the morning azan. The mother sides with their little boy Jaanu (Garrick Chaudhary) when the temperamental father is tempted to hit him again. The bone of contention is his friendliness with the local Hindu priest and the nonchalance with which he digs into the temple Prasad. Naturally, as a child, he has an affinity towards all religions, finding them all equally fascinating and confusing.

We don't quite dislike the controlling father - a well-meaning fellow, who seems a victim of age-old beliefs and deep-rooted fear.

The story moves back and forth timelines to get to a point, where Jaanu goes missing. This is not the first time he has disappeared, and usually does that after his father has lost his temper with him again. But this time, several days pass and the cleric father is distraught.

The first half is interesting as we get to know the characters and the sights and sounds of Varanasi, complete with the chaotic Ram Leela (actors who miss their cue as the costume won't fit backstage). The equation between Jaanu and his parents is real, flawed and yet wholesome.

Tragedy strikes the family when Jaanu's mother passes away. The child innocently doesn't want the mother to be buried as he's worried how she'll live in so much darkness. Therefore, it is frightening for adults, but makes complete sense to the child to try digging out the grave one night.

The film goes downhill between the interesting first half and the spectacular finale. For the most part, we see the father hitting the son in flashback, asking him to go to the maulvi for learning the Quran, or crying when he doesn't return home. Since this scenario happens more than once and the film flits between timelines, it gets repetitive and pointless.

It's an execution flaw in an otherwise superlative story. We also have to contend with poor sound design and dubbing, lackluster cinematography, and a confusing edit pattern.

But the finale leaves you so moved; you are quite willing to forgive the film's flaws. It's a powerful ending, in fact, one of the most effective finales one has witnessed since a while.

That is indeed the triumph of the director in how he makes us feel for the characters. Even the peripheral characters that appear for a few minutes are memorable.

The cast does exceedingly well. Garrick Chaudhary who plays Jaanu has the most evocative eyes and the impish smile that only children can have. He's also a natural in front of the camera, charming the audience with an effortless dialogue delivery.

Lalit Mohan Tiwari is excellent as the father, who is struggling to come to terms with his kid's exuberance and a nonchalant respect for all religions.

Yes, the film needed desperately to have more finesse and a clearer storytelling technique. But this is one of the few films where the story makes up for the flaws. It definitely leaves you excited for writer-debut director Zaigham Imam's sophomore film.

This is a film that could have been much more, and yet is fulfilling despite the minuses. Recommended!

Rating: Three stars

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