Saturday, June 18, 2005
Parineeta: A Star is Born
Well, maybe. Vidya Balan, who is the heart and soul of the new film Parineeta, has a very traditional Indian look. That is to say, she actually has 'Indian' features, in contrast to most of today's Bollywood teenyboppers. Will there be more roles for Vidya Balan?
Overall, Parineeta is as classy a Hindi film as we can expect to see this year. It has great music and nice filmic allusions, including the famous Sharmila Tagore train from Aradhana ("Mere Sapno Ki Rani"), and a brilliantly kitschy big-band number with Rekha ("Kasisi Paheli Zindgani"). It's also a thoughtful adaptation of Saratchandra Chattopadhyay's novel -- nicely trimmed to maintain audience interest at two hours long. Parineeta reminds one a good deal of Devdas -- both movies are adaptations of Saratchandra novels -- but the melodrama in Parineeta is much lighter than the Devdas story. The central focus here is music, not alcoholism or 'courtesan' melodrama.
I would recommend Parineeta, especially to readers who don't watch many Hindi films. It might help a little if you know how fabulous Rekha was in her hey-day, but it's not required.
(Sidenote: An interesting article on the 'Devdas phenomenon' is at the University of Iowa. And Poonam Arora has written a serious, scholarly article on "Devdas, India's Emasculated Hero: Sadomasochism and Colonialism")