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Life Express review: This is ?Life Depress?

Life Express review: This is ?Life Depress?

Source: Sify

By: Sonia Chopra

Critic's Rating: 17/5

Friday 17 September 2010

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Movie Title

Life Express

Director

Anup Das

Star Cast

Rituparna Sengupta, Divya Dutta, Kiran Janjani, Yashpal Sharma

The theme of surrogate motherhood has found its way into a few Hindi films: the Salman-Rani-Preity starrer Chori Chori Chupke Chupke and the Tabu-Sushmita starrer Filhaal are prime examples.

In Life Express (the film title is a mystery), we peek into the lives of urban couple Tanvi (Rituparna Sengupta, in trademark loud make-up) and Nikhil (Kiran Janjani, plastic), both pursuing fruitful careers.

Tanvi has just been promoted, and is promised another big jump within a year. It?s at this time she learns of her pregnancy. Her boss explains to her that she deserves both - a great career and the opportunity to raise a family - but just not at the same time.

As per her doctor?s suggestion, going ahead with the pregnancy would entail a bed-rest throughout the term. She takes her decision and aborts the baby. Her friends and family go into a melodramatic mode, making her feel guilty at every turn.

The husband is somewhat supportive, reluctantly understanding her dilemma.

Their common friend wonders aloud if they will ever have a baby at this rate. The option that the couple could wait a couple of years before starting a family doesn?t occur to anyone. It has to happen n-o-w.

A surrogate pregnancy specialist is summoned who contacts a sleazy agent specialising in supplying needy women as surrogate mothers. The couple feels that surrogate motherhood could equip them with the option of pursuing their careers and raising a family as well.

Their family, as usual, goes into hyper-drama mode.

We them move to a village where the central occupation is pottery, an art form suffering declining demand, so each house is struggling to survive. Mohan (Yashpal Sharma, excellent) and Gauri (Divya Dutta, endearing despite the straitjacketed role) raise two children in this village, and are under severe debt.

In this scenario, Gauri accepts the idea of becoming a surrogate mother to Tanvi. But even she won?t spare Tanvi the sermon on how wicked and outrageous it is for her to consider money and success over changing diapers.

On the other hand, Tanvi?s mother screeches, ?You?re a woman. For a woman, house always comes first.? Sheesh. With parents like these, who needs enemies right?

At no point do Tanvi?s parents gloat over, encourage, or shower praise at her incredible achievements. She?s constantly derided for her success; made to feel guilty for being such an achiever.

Such is the film?s tenor, and such are its characters.

Surrogate motherhood could have been an interesting topic to script a story around. It?s topical, touchy, and is likely to extract strong opinions from most.

One wishes the story treatment by writer-director Anup Das was more sensitive, intelligent, and balanced. Instead it just paints its passionate, career-focussed character as a heartless ogre. This is not Life Express, it?s Life Depress. Avoid!

Rating: 1 star

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