Starring: Kangana Ranaut, Paras Arora, Prakash Raj, Mahesh Manjrekar
Directed by Vishwas Patil
Rating: * ?
Films about the Fallen Woman, or the prostitute with or without a heart of gold, have fascinated filmmakers and viewers from the time Nargis and Meena Kumari did Adalat and Pakeezah, respectively.
Then there was Sharmila Tagore carrying the concept of the pristine prostitute to the peaks of sublimity in Shakti Samanta’s Amar Prem.
With time the concept of the whore with a halo has lost its sheen. Virginity and sexual sacrifices are no longer the sacrosanct commodities they once used to be.
Rajjo tries hard to create empathy—or is it sympathy?—for the prostitute on the path of rehabilitation. Years ago we had Anil Dhawan trying to give a home and a sense of security to the call-girl Rehana Sultan in Chetna. In Rajjo we have a newcomer Paras Arora trying very hard to look like the guy the distressed prostitute can depend on. The older woman’s sexual seduction was far more sincerely done recently in B A Pass. Paras looks like he could do with tips from some tapes of porn films.
It’s a losing battle all the way. Not only does the callow youngster (said to be 21 in the script but looks 16) seem ill-equipped to give Rajjo a new life, the script itself seems in desperate search of a life. It meanders from an intended plot of self-righteous nobility to a domain of absolute absurdity and crudity.
The dialogues that flow from mouths which seem constructed for deception during times of drama, seem to sound like graffiti on toilet walls .
Writer-director Vishwas Patil means well. Maybe just as well as B R Chopra when he cast Vyjanthimala as the rehabilitated nautch girl in Sadhana. But Vyjathimala could dance. Kangana can’t.
Lamentably good intentions don’t translate into good cinema. Dialogues comparing women to commodities that are meant to be scathing attacks on the position accorded to women in our society come out sounding cheesy. The editing and choreography don’t support Kangana’s characters in any way. Instead they drive the narrative around the bend creating a kind of chaotic universe where actors drop in, say their allotted lines quickly leave without getting involved in the mess.
The actors, even tried-and-tested ones like Mahesh Manjrekar and Prakash Raj seem to be screaming to get attention. The only technician who seems to take his job seriously is the renowned cinematographer Binod Pradhan who shoots the messy material with sincerity. But what can a world class cinematographer shoot in a film that’s hell bent on shooting itself in its leg?
The Fallen Woman has never before fallen with such a thundering thud.