Review : Dor

Rating : Good (4/5)
Genre : Drama
Year : 2006
Director : Nagesh Kukunoor
Cast : Ayesha Takia, Gul Panag, Girish Karnad, Shreyas Talpade

DOR : Shades of feminism
 

This film comes from the Kukunoor-ian stable, most famous for low-budget hits like “Hyderabad Blues”, and most recently “Iqbal”. The film is woman-oriented in that it portrays the plight of young widows in modern day rural India, and explores ways of empowering them (well just one of them here, but still). The story unfolds at a slow pace, peppered with nice, simple but touching vignettes.

Zeenat (Gul) is an independent young Himachali woman married to Amir, who’s working in Saudi Arabia. Mira (Takia) is a young Rajput-ian bride, living in her in-laws orthodox home as her husband Shankar earns a living in Saudi Arabia also. Shankar and Amir are apparently friends in Saudi Arabia, but tragedy strikes as Shanker is accidentally killed by Amir. While Meera is buried under sorrow and the weight of traditional customs which deprive a widow of her ornaments, good food or any such luxuries, Zeenat must find a way of rescuing Amir from the death penalty imposed on him. The only way it seems is to get a signed pardon (maafi-naama) from Shanker’s widow. For that Zeenat sets out for Rajasthan, armed only with a photo, to search out Shanker’s widow and obtain from her, her only hope for Amir’s life . . .

I was much impressed by the local scenery of Rajasthan as well as Himachal, as shown in the film. Breath-takingly beautiful. The blue houses were a nice eye-popping color, and the artwork outside Rajasthani homes was gorgeous. The story is interesting, although it does have parts which seems theatrical and made-for-reel-life. Direction is good, and Kukunoor paces his story well, keeping one interested. The characters are well sketched and believable. The dialogues reflect much of the local flavor, and at times discuss feminism and the plight of women. There is only one song (a beautiful retake on the old “Kesariya balam”), which plays back in refrains.

While Ayesha Takia does a surprisingly good job as Meera – the coy smile, the innocence, and later the anger and sorrow are convincing, Panag appears emotionless by comparison. This might be the director’s doing in wanting to make her appear calm and collected in the most stressful situations, however IMO, some feeling is necessary to gain viewer sympathy. Veteran actor Karnad appears as Mira’s patriarchal father-in-law and is superb; if only we had more actors like him. Shreyas Talpade as good-hearted Bahrupiya, is good, effortless in his buffoonery (all that mimicry suits him no end), and believable in serious parts. Actors playing minor roles, such as Amir’s or Shanker’s are very good too.

This is a nice film, and a welcome break from all the other crap objectifying women. If you want a good, clean film strong on content, this one’s for you.

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10 Responses to Review : Dor

  1. Anonymous says:

    This is a straight lift from a Malayalam Movie called Perumazhakkalam ( http://www.nowrunning.com/film/review.asp?movieNo=1840 )

    The Malayalam original too is very good & won a national award for being a socially relevant movie ( http://www.hindu.com/2005/07/14/stories/2005071402652200.htm )

    As the title indicates permazhakkalam ( The season of Heavy Rain ) , the movie has very nice shots of rain falling.

  2. sanjay jha says:

    nameste amodini
    loved the review
    happy bolly-blogging
    cheers
    jhaji

    PS-you are linked to jhaji’s BLOGYWOOD

  3. Stone says:

    hmm nice review of a nice movie!!!

    Like every other moviegoer is a movie critic, so I am 🙂

    Kuknoor went horribly wrong with casting.
    Karnad looked too old for his wife!! and Kuknoor himself appeared too soft/goody-goody kind to pull off that kind of negative role.

    And dialogue-baazi between two main characters was pedestrian, not at all convincing.

    Somehow Kuknoor managed to deliver a good storyline, that is his specialty I guess.

  4. Ravi says:

    I hope you are just experimenting with the tempaltes and not going to stick with current one. please don’t

  5. AMODINI says:

    Anonymous,
    Thanks for the info!

    Jhaji,
    Thank You !

    Stone,
    Thanks. I didn’t find it odd in Karnad looking too old for his wife. I don’t believe that the husband being much older than the wife is considered much of a problem in orthodox communities.

    Ravi,
    No,am not experimenting – this has been my template since I started the blog – no plans to change it anytime soon.

  6. Raj says:

    Its a good movie. I really liked it.

    But wahts this:

    //There is only one song (a beautiful retake on the old “Kesariya balam”), which plays back in refrains.

    I remember two full songs “Iman Ka Asar” and “Yeh Honsla”, the latter in different versions. How did you miss these?

  7. AMODINI says:

    Raj,
    You remeber better than I did – and you’re right. There are 2 more songs – I guess I missed these because am so enamoured with “Kesariya balam”.

  8. Anonymous says:

    A nice and neat film could be watchable (and enjoyable) with all family members (honest confession: my living room is still keeping an “orthodox” environment).
    Thanks and keep the good work going.

    Jamil, Canada.

  9. AMODINI says:

    Jamil,
    Thanks ! I appreciate it.

  10. hans says:

    nice review and as usual, i tend to agree with most of your judgements. I didn't think Meera was to young for her husband, though, but felt she was too young for the personal development and change of attitude shown in the last third. And yes, i agree with you that some parts of the plot and also some dialog is rather filmi. But one has seen worse for sure!

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