By Subhash K. Jha, Indo-Asian News Service
"Zindaggi Rocks"; Starring: Sushmita Sen, Shiney Ahuja, Moushumi
Chatterjee; Director: Tanuja Chandra; Rating: ***
"Zindaggi Rocks" is a film that surely rocks! Tanuja Chandra's
"Dushman" and to some extent "Sangharsh" and "Sur" were incredibly
sensitive films. After a long hiatus, the director returns to form with
a film that's heartbreakingly real.
Packed with a cluster of believable characters, "Zindaggi Rocks"
showcases Sushmita Sen's awesome personality in the tailor-made role of
the fabulous rockstar Kriya.
A stage performer and a single mother, the role acquires a tangy
flavour and an abiding character that only Sushmita knows to
"But have no fear," her 13-year old utterly endearing son Dhruv
(Julian Burkhadt) mischievously tells the doctor who's interested in
her. The mom isn't married ... nor is she an unwed mother.
Kriya adopted Dhruv when he was all of two years. Dhruv's family
comprises only of wacky women - mom Kriya, Kriya's mom (Moushumi
Chatterjee) and her twin sister (Moushumi in a double role), a squeaky
secretary (Kim Sharma) and an assistant (Ravi Gossain) who believes
he's a cowboy.
Into this mad house comes the hesitant Suraj Rihan (Shiney Ahuja), a
The Sushmita-Shiney relationship grows in full of view of the hospital staff and the equally curious relatives of Kriya.
Tanuja Chandra portrays the warmth at work, at play and within the defined comforts of domesticity with a deftness that you'd come across in the finest works of Hrishikesh Mukherjee.
The director has constructed a film where the emotional control of the narrative is exceptional.
The support provided by dialogue writer Mudassar Aziz is beyond substantial. The words, especially those spoken by Shiny Ahuja convey deep home truths with a throwaway casualness.
You smile and you sob almost simultaneously as Kriya's life as a professional, a mother and a woman in love come together in a fluent and virile clasp.
The film's deeper thrusts on life and death emerge effortlessly from the rhythms of the routine.
The film has a charming ensemble of actors, instilling optimum conviction in the plot without losing their innate charm as stars of substantial longevity. As contrasting twin sisters, Moushumi Chatterjee comes into her own after ages.
Shiney essays the character whose his eyes are filled with the pain of a tragedy that paints his past and threatens to colour his future in fine and sharp strokes.
A special word for child actor Julian who plays Sushmita's son - the boy's winsome personality is so understated that you wonder if actors are made from their childhood.
But it's Sushmita who captivates you as a working woman struggling to remain motivated as life serves her a huge blow. If in her musical numbers, she whips up a vigour that breaks your heart, in key emotional scenes she rips the screen apart with emotions that come straight from her guts.
After "Chingari", Sushmita again pours a volcanic intensity into a role that would work with no other actor in the world.
As for Sunidhi Chauhan's vocals - If Sushmita provides the body and soul to her part of a fiercely protective mother, Sunidhi is the voice that caresses the actress's soul!
In a year that's cluttered with remarkable films, Tanuja Chandra has emerged with a work that lodges itself in your heart.
But I wonder if it would have worked so well without the amazing Sushmita Sen!
Bollywood.com Rating: 2