‘And Once Again’ - Disappointing fare by Amol Palekar (Hindi Film Review, Rating: **1/2)

August 22nd, 2010 - 2:56 pm ICT by IANS  

By Satyen K. Bordoloi
Film: “And Once Again”; Starring: Rituparna Sengupta, Rajat Kapoor, Antara Mali;

Director: Amol Palekar; Rating: **1/2

Loss, an obviousness in life, is extremely difficult to depict on screen. Yet to see a veteran director like Amol Palekar fail at it is a tad disappointing. But it is not just Palekar’s fault. The main problem lies with a flat, one-dimensional script and lack of imagination that mars what could otherwise have been a good film.

Rishi (Rajat Kapoor) a retired civil servant, even 18 years after losing his wife Savitri (Antara Mali) and son in a bomb explosion overseas, is not over it completely. He has recently married Manu (Rituparna Sengupta), who is a caring and understanding wife.

On a trip to a monastery in Sikkim, he sees Savitri, now a monk, and his life is in tatters once again. He tries to come to terms with this mystery and the deep ripples in his mind, as do Savitri and Manu.

The answers, are neither convenient nor easy for anyone to grapple with, as guilt, anger and frustration threaten to rip apart three lives that had reached an equilibrium.

Palekar is not just a veteran actor, but a director of sensitivity and repute who had made some good films. Yet, nowhere in the film is his usual mastery of camera, tension or emotions visible.

Besides the stilted script, the emotions of characters are also one dimensional, and writer Sandhya Gokhale fails in blending the beautiful landscape of Sikkim with the possibilities that were rife in the story.

The dialogues are often pretentious, bordering on outright juvenile, especially in the beginning. The actors do their bit in what is possible in such a script.

A film like this one, made for a very niche audience, should not take the convenient route of tying every loose end in a ‘perfect’ ending. That’s the job of commercial cinema. A film about loss, like this one, succeeds only when it leaves the audience with a sense of loss and longing.

Instead, “And Once Again” aims for catharsis with some melodramatic scenes and a convenient ending, rather than the truth, and in that lies the biggest flaw of this film.

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