Wednesday, 9 April 2014

JAL : Movie Review

Jal leaves you with many fluttering strands of thought swimming in the tormented tides of humanity's most deprived and financially challenged part of civilization where drinking water is more precious than gold. It's a never-before visual experience. Tapestried and tempestuous, the tides of Girish Malik's narrative rise and swell like the frequent sandstorms in the desertscape that Sunita Radia's camera captures so evocatively in this saga of raging ragas. Jal takes its own time in unravelling, fooling itself into believing that a certain Govarikar is its creator, and when it finally does reach its climax, it turns out to be completely predictable. Its like that tempting cake which has been garnished with blueberries on top and looks yummy but when you put in mouth, it turns out to be half baked. The movie definitely has lot of high moments which really excite you but unfortunately they come in between.Though for the first hour the film appears lucid and gripping, the second hour becomes bothersome and tediously long. What really destroyed the quintessence of the film is the rough and casual editing that doesn’t allow the magnanimity of scene to settle in. Jal could have been an eloquent offering but misses the tranquility that doesn’t let the drama’s tempo settle in. There is no room for emotion in a dog eat dog world; and all these plans sound brilliant but they really amount to nothing if not executed efficiently.  Kudos for shooting on location for authenticity, but eventually, it is this wide canvas that creates a problem of plenty.  

SCRIPT & SCREENPLAY                ::::                 The credit for the story has been given to Rakesh Mishra & the screenplay of the movie is joint effort of Girish Malik & Rakesh Mishra. The script must have seemed tempting on paper, and definitely has all the necessary ingredients ranging from drama to romance to keep audiences going. Luckily, the story doesn’t don a garb of pseudo intellectualism in telling a rather simplistic story. The story is tropical and interesting; the execution of screenplay, not so much. The writing descends into an obscure offshoot of crudity revolving around a bunch of horny villagers and their visiting 'gori' guest—scenes that are clearly inserted as comic relief to lighten the drama.  The story opens with a small village in Kutch.  The story is about Bakka who is a water God of sorts in his circles. It is the sprawling Rann Of Kutch that almost forms a perfect canvas to tell a story about how quintessential water is for the people there. In one of the opening sequences, a gang of women attack a foreigner when she drinks water from a well of an enemy village. The story doesn’t invest much in unraveling the inter or intra village dynamics. Even Bakka’s love for Kesar comes without a backstory and hence it is baffling when in one scene she attacks him and in the next she is taking a bath with him. Even Kajri’s love for Bakka though evident from the start could have been elucidated further. Definitely it was the water scarcity and water salinity that is the prime focus of the story, but the script doesn’t tie loose-ends in terms of etching out sharp characters. The loss of flamingos have been handled with poise surely. Though tackled very conveniently, we are obviously not to believe that the Government co-operated so smoothly in helping them get water to the lands. Even that faction of the story could have been elaborated on but the script keeps it utterly simplistic and easy without investing much in infusing any drama to it.

STARCAST                                          :::::              Another, highpoint of the movie is its performances which are like very close to reality. It is Purab Kohli who is smashing as Bakka. He nails his character, his mannerisms and displays solid conviction in his portrayal. Probably one of his real performances where he has stretched the contours of his acting abilities well. Kirti Kulhari plays Bakka’s love interest and looks the right amount of seductive and sexy. But to her disadvantage she doesn't have a meaty role. Tanishtha Chatterjee has done well as she is a fine actor but her attire & her looks in this movie seem like an extension of her last release i.e. Gulabi Gang. The trio who have managed to entertain the most with their confrontations in movie & witty characters are : Ravi Gosain, Yashpal Sharma & Rahul Singh. Ravi Gosain as Purab's friend (Rakla) has given an astounding performance and has shown his potential as a fine actor. He definitely deserves to be seen more on big screen. Same can be said for Rahul Singh (Kisna Prasad) whose mannerisms of Sarkari officer & dialect will definitely bring smile on your face. Yashpal Sharma has proven his versatility as an actor umpteen times and in this movie his Hinglish manages to raise guffaws. Mukul Dev as Puniya looks ruthless but his screen presence is again limited.   

TECHNICAL FINESSE                    ::::                       The soundtrack of the movie has been composed by two music directors i.e. Sonu Nigam & Bickram Ghosh which is average kinds. Given the ambitious scale, one can sense the excitement of the cinematographer i.e. Sunita Radia. This is evident from an obsession with jibs and haze filters. Jal captures the bare beauty of the golden cracked earth and its tortuous tapestry in artfully mounted frames. It's a picture-perfect album with stark sights and parched souls.The movie has been edited by Protim Khaound which is not at all crisp and has taken the charm of the movie away from the audience. The movie has been directed by Girish Malik and It is a little difficult to understand what he wants to show the viewer since he does not bother to create subplots but lets storylines run independent of each other and eventually, when everything does entangle, it turns into absolute chaos. Malik focuses too heavily on making the lands look larger than life and misses out on building the temper of the film adequately. Probably it is not as much as Malik’s fault as much as his editing department. As a result, movie which could have turned out be truly remarkable flatly turns out as an average fare.

CONCLUSION                                ::::                Jal is a magnificently shot film but doesn’t quite imbibe the needful spirit. It's a story of people and how their lives are weaved together. Watch the movie if such 'experimental' movies interest you, or any new kind of cinema. In case pure entertainment is your drug, skip this one.

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