Critic's Rating: 17/5
Friday 10 August 2001
K Shashilal Nair
`Grahan`, in the making for eons, and having gone through the grind,finally sees the light of the day. For its age and whatever else it`s worth, it isn`t altogether bad as was made out, but the continuity hiccups and occasional lack of focus, seem to annoy one`s senses.
It centres around Parwati (Manisha Koirala), a rape victim, at the hands of the chief minister`s son. The miscreant`s sister Sunita (Anupama Varma) is in love with Jaggu (Jackie), presumably, the CM`s in-house lawyer. (Commendable that the lawyer should get to date the CM`s daughter! What`s more? They even mention that Jaggu was raw and just starting out in his career, so to bag the CM`s family account as his debut case is rather formidable, or should we say implausible?!) When the horrible truth dawns on Jaggu that he has erroneously defended Sunita`s brother (actually Parwati`s rapist), he feels the pangs of guilt and decides to take up for her. Parwati becomes deranged (rape victims are most likely to get depressed or psyched, but not turn into full-fledged retards! Manisha actually behaves like a veteran asylum-loony!), so he takes her to a distant farmhouse for a month so that she can overcome her shock. In no time, she garners enough sensibility to seduce him, and yippee, she`s normal again; overnight! (What beats me is why the CM`s son doesn`t bother to attack them even once in that month.)
The movie isn`t about romance though romance is supposed to be an integral part of it. But aren`t romances are supposed to touch that tender, special place in the viewer`s heart, in stead of encouraging nap-taking! With a convoluted, contrived plot that tends to emasculate and lobotomize the lead characters, `Grahan` doesn`t completely connect on an emotional level, except for certain sequences depicting Manisha`s helplessness.
The film`s biggest asset is its crisp running time. Just two hours and ten minutes, so you don`t even feel the onslaught too severely! And honestly, its first half isn`t bad at all, except that post-interval it becomes disoriented. It concentrates on the ethics behind why Parwati murdered the CM`s son (cum rapist) rather than actually elevating her from the status of a hooker that was wrongfully heaped on her. The CM`s son has been conveniently bumped off at Parwati`s hands, so for all practical purposes, he becomes innocent in the eyes of the world, because the fact that he had actually assaulted her is neither proven nor mentioned emphatically.
Kartik Raja`s soundtrack is easy on the ears. (But that `Chup Chup` song must be deleted). The camerawork is fine in patches, but the dialogue and editing are sub-par.
From the performances, Jackie Shroff is both convincing and competent. Debutante Anupama Varma makes a visibly concerted effort but needs to polish her kinesics. But it is Manisha Koirala who stands out. Just when she was facing the risk of getting written off, this flick will make people sit up and reconsider their decision. She displays delightful vulnerability and plays her part with cent percent honesty. Watching her is one of the few delights associated with the picture that otherwise offers few pleasures.