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Review: Frozen moves you very little!

Review: Frozen moves you very little!

Source: Sify

By: Sonia Chopra

Critic's Rating: 17/5

Friday 8 May 2009

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Movie Title

Frozen

Director

Shivajee Chandrabhushan

Star Cast

Danny Denzongpa, Yashpal Sharma, Raj Zutshi, Aamir Bashir, Shakeel Khan

Frozen: that?s what this writer felt on seeing the film. For a film based on an underprivileged family in Ladakh and their struggle for survival, Frozen moves you very little.

Perhaps it?s the jaw-dropping aesthetics that distract you constantly. Ironically, that?s the film?s USP. The black-and-white photography does look very nice. There are long shots incorporating sky-high intimidating mountains, winding valleys, snow-capped grounds and so on. All very beautiful. The story?s heart-rending too; but take away the location and it?s not really a different idea, (you?re reminded many, many times of the sweet simplicity and honest emotions of Majid Majidi?s Children of Heaven.)

Frozen is shot in Ladakh, clearly under very trying circumstances; it can never be easy to shoot in a minus-degree location. The effort seeps through and you?re genuinely appreciative. But would you recommend the film? That?s a trying question.

Your central protagonist is ageing widower Karma (Danny Denzongpa, marvelous) who takes care of his children? a little boy and his adolescent daughter Lasya (newcomer Gauri). Karma tries his utmost to make a living off selling jams, but it?s getting increasingly difficult to sell his stock. Bad times take a turn for the worse when the army sets up base near their home and wants to take it over. Debt is mounting on Karma, even as his moneylenders lustily eye the daughter.

The daughter, by the way, is a perplexing character and not in an intriguing way. At one time, she even throws stones across the wired fence at the enemy area, which in that sensitive time, could start a round of firing. She looks intense sometimes for no reason (highlighted through extreme close-ups) and behaves playfully childish at others. Karma?s affection for the daughter and her urge to take care of the old father form the tenderest portions of the film. At times, one does smell a hint of the film patronizing its protagonists; a dicey element whenever a story about underprivileged characters is said.

Cinematography is the hero and cameraperson Shankar Raman (also the film?s co-producer and writer) captures Ladakh beautifully. Dialogues are mostly disappointing. In a scene Lasya?s voiceover says - ` I don?t know what caused the explosion. The enemy outside, or?? Pause. You can guess the remaining part of the dialogue. You?re right, it says ?or the enemy within.? The film?s pace is another let-down. There are portions that are just there for their aesthetic quality: take the case of that long shot of a bus winding its way across a valley, or the shots of the dancers wearing exotic masks.

And then, the story of the poor man and the evil moneylenders lusting after his daughter reminds you of the potboilers of the `80s. Of couse, it?s irony that a peek into the life of the most poor has been shot through the richest of frames.

Debut director Shivajee Chandrabhushan?s incorrigible focus on the beautiful `photographic? elements of the place rather than on the protagonists gives away his background as a still photographer. But if only he?d make his plot as breathtaking as his technical brilliance!

Evidently, the central reason the film has won several accolades is the striking cinematography and the core subject. As far as the soul of the film goes, it?s pretty much inundated by the technical excess. Go for it if a fab performance by Denzongpa and arresting cinematography is enough to whet your appetite this film-starved season.

Rating: Two Stars

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