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Pankh has an interesting premise

Pankh has an interesting premise

Source: General

By: Sonia Chopra

Critic's Rating: 3/5

Tuesday 06 April 2010

Movie Title

Pankh has an interesting premise

Director

Sudipto Chattopadhyaya

Star Cast

Maradona Rebello, Lillette Dubey, Bipasha Basu

The story tugs at your heartstrings momentarily; but doesn?t add up. We follow the life of child artist Kusum, a National Award winner, who is actually a boy called Jerry.

This unlikely situation is the result of his over ambitious mother (Lillette Dubey) who wants to live her dream of stardom through her child. In an audition for girls, she dresses up her son in a wig. The role is his, and so begins his journey into child stardom and an identity crisis.

The world is cruel, calling him a eunuch. Leading this double-gender life has a deep psychological effect on him. When he?s grown and fit for auditions as a leading man, Jerry (now the mother insists he become Jay, a more palatable hero name) undergoes yet another crisis. He deals with re-entering the studio that saw him dressed as a little girl.

It brings back strange memories of dual identity, and of abuse, stardom and cruel words. But the very smell of the studio that he finds nauseating delights his mother, reminding her of the days when she was a working actor.

He meets an old spot boy, close friend of ?Baby Kusum?, who is now a stunt man. This leads to yet another complicated relationship, along with the existing one he shares with his imaginary love (Bipasha Basu).

One of the more interesting aspects of the film is its floating between reality and the surreal without warning. Several of Jerry?s walks, where he speaks with his dead father, are actually his subconscious.

The film is serious about commenting on cruel parents who push their children into a world where they are uncomfortable. Jerry finds another such person in his leading lady, who is not interested in acting, and is terrified of the sleazy casting agent who is the first in the chain of people her mother says she must sleep with.

Jerry and his mother?s relationship is complex, too. They have only each other to call family, which is why he cannot escape her exploitative nature. She, on the other hand, is disturbed herself for not having fulfilled her dream of becoming a star, and not realising the danger of living her dream through her child.

One does admire the makers for taking up a subject that hasn?t been explored in our films yet. And, yes, the film audience is ready to take on more challenging stories. But, the reason Pankh doesn?t work is absence of details.

We are, for example, curious to know what happens to our protagonist in the period between his childhood and adulthood. What?s his life been like from the time he gave up acting as a child? But we?re only shown the adult him re-stepping into the film studios with flashbacks of him dressed as a little girl.

We want to know the contribution of the adolescent years on his present disturbed self, or the reason why his childhood baggage has only deepened with time.

Debut director Sudipto Chattopadhyaya?s (writer, Dus Kahaniyan) shows promise in extracting performances and one hopes his propensity to explore dark subjects continues.

Debutant Maradona Rebello is a talent to watch out for and shows incredible promise. His rendering of Jerry, a complex character that goes through several conflicting emotions, is pitch-perfect. Lillette Dubey gives a mesmerising, powerful performance as the grey-shaded character of a controlling mother who has her own inner demons to confront.

The film has an interesting premise, but it hasn?t been fleshed out satisfactorily. You?re never fully involved in the protagonist?s life, and are, therefore, not completely sensitised to his internal struggle. One only wishes these clutter-breaking ideas transformed themselves into formidable films as well. That, as we know, is hardly ever the case.

Rating: 2 stars

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