Mayank Shekhar's review: Yeh Faasle

By Hindustan Times

Director: Yogesh Mittal
Actors: Anupam Kher, Pawan Malhotra
Rating: *

Every film needn't merit a review. Some deserve little reports addressed to loved ones alone; just so they know you're fine, and that you really did survive the movie. Or as in this case, almost survived, up till a point, beyond which it became possible to take it anymore.

You can't entirely blame the filmmakers here either. They named their flick, Faasle, or Passage. This passage of time ought to be proven tests for any audience's patience. Try it sometime.

Here's roughly how this shindig on a grainy screen goes. A young girl walks into her old father's life. For some reason, it seems for her the first time ever. She's finished college, has a boyfriend, and one of those best-friends-forever (BFF) type girlfriends, waiting for her at her daddy's hometown. She also has enough time to spare, as it were. So she sets out to investigate her mother's death from two decades before.

Her mom had met with an accident on a Maruti 1000 while her father had chased her down a hill on a Premier Padmini 118 NE. We watch that same scene play out, again, and again. Here are the possibilities: the father had tried to stop her from speeding; she'd lost control of the car, and died. Or her father had personally pushed her car out of the cliff. Or…

As you can see, this is literally a cliffhanger of sorts. Where the murder is known, only the motives, or the killer remain unclear. Daughter's in a dilemma. Writers of non-fiction have lately found a far more intriguing, impenetrable plot in the infamous Arushi murder case. But that's another matter.

This one concerns a family of rich Rajputs. The mother was into veena (the instrument). The father, a commoner, was into violence, since we've just unearthed his history of "ego and animal behaviour". The daughter is convinced the dad killed her mom.

She drags him to court. He gets acquitted. Dad-daughter chill out at home regardless, he offers her lessons on making it in life. She drags him to the wooden courts again. He faces the judge under strong top-light once more. This time he's sentenced to life. She visits him in jail still, probes further, washes down mugs over mugs of coffee, goes nuts, under background music for a song of separation.

Her boyfriend meanwhile is solving the mystery of that car crash. Local mechanic still remembers if the car was hit from the left or the right: sharp memory for an accident that took place over 20 years ago. The girl's discovered her grandmom (it seems), her mom's best-friend King Diggy (it appears), her holiday home (where the alleged murder took place), its caretaker.... Every minute that you believe this film (and with it, the farce) is over, it starts again; yesterday once more: Premier Padmini 118 NE chases a Maruti 1000 down a hill!

You couldn't care less for the characters, let alone the frikin' killer. Anupam Kher's the film's leading man. Talented Pawan Malhotra plays the second lead. Which is good to know, so far as risking with top billings are concerned. Bombay films may still seem far from producing draws like a matured Meryl Streep. We could soon have Philip Seymour Hoffmans of our own. How about a "did he, did he not" like Doubt (2008) to match expectations from a script as well? Ah, never mind that.

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