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This is truly a great movie, an amazing experience. I haven't felt that transported to a far away land of strange customs and emotions in a long time. This is also a 3h long movie, which makes the experience even more absorbing (i like long movies). It was quite a trip to a foreign planet. And yet, it portrays people of today, in parts of northern India today, and this makes the tale told by this movie even more chilling.
However, and it is such a shame, the movie is interrupted several times by totally inappropriate material. For example, at some point, a female character gets beaten up quite severely during one of the most heart wrenching scenes of the movie, and then, the movie cuts to a dream/dance sequence with Shahrukh Khan and Aishwarya Rai (she is absolutely gorgeous, and that's her single scene in the entire movie, so beware if you are after this movie just because of her). I could have thought of many places where this scene (obviously in there just to attract audiences with the star power of Shahrukh and Aishwarya) would have fit much better, without distracting the viewer from the drama that is going on. This is my main overall criticism of this movie, and this prevents it from being a great great film. It is a very shocking, dramatic, powerful story, wonderfully directed and put together, that gets interrupted several times, by scenes of silly comedy, or a joyous dance number. This is the main reason i gave such a bad rating for Editing. What a shame, what a shame.
Other than that, the movie is definitely violent and chilling. Karishma Kapoor provides a great performance in the role of the mother, very powerful. But the acting jewel of the movie is Nana Patekar, who plays Narsimha, the tyrannical paternal grand-father. Nana Patekar dominates every scene he's in and i'd love to see more of him. Here, he portrays one of the scariest and nuanced vilain in recent film history in my opinion, and when he was not on screen, i was getting impatient to see him again, quick.
As far as technique is concerned, we are treatred to great cinematography, and amazing art direction. The mansion is a beautiful, powerful and ominous place that really is a full character in the story. The direction is clean and imaginative in quite a few occasions. I do put some blame on the director and the writer for the terrible editing and the silly scenes which affect so greatly the final result, but if you take those out, keep the parts where the film really counts, it's a top notch job here. I really would like to copy the DVD, and re-edit this movie myself. When i get a new computer, it will probably be one of my first project.
- Laurent Hasson