Hindi Movies

Laaga Chunari Mein Daag(2007)- A Review

One look at the opening shot of the film set in Varanasi and you know you are in Pradeep Sarkar territory.

Published: Friday,Oct 12, 2007 21:41 PM GMT-06:00
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Cast- Rani Mukerji, Konkona Sen Sharma, Jaya Bachchan, Anupam Kher, Kunal Kapoor, Abhishek Bachchan

Director- Pradeep Sarkar

Rating- **1/2

One look at the opening shot of the film set in Varanasi and you know you are in Pradeep Sarkar territory. With ‘Laaga Chunari Mein Daag’ the viewer gets a taste of some reality captured beautifully in some lovely frames coupled with some Yash Raj gloss and some Bollywood cliché.

'Laaga …..' starts with the song ‘ Hum Toh aise hain bhayyia’ picturised on Rani and Konkona and that very song conveys the fact that they are sisters who share a very warm relationship with each other. Badki (Rani) and Chutki (Konkona) lead an innocent and carefree life in the holy city with their parents Jaya Bachchan and Anupam Kher. The only problem is the finances which is a major one, especially since the patriarch is old and ailing and there is no earning son in the house. They are more than happy to oblige when a film crew from Mumbai wants their old ‘haveli’ for shooting for a few months. The family is also embroiled in a legal battle with the cunning older brother of the father (Tinnu Anand) who along with his violent natured son (Sushant Singh) is hell bent on getting them on the road. When the film shooting deal falls through and the mother finds it hard to make ends meet with her paltry money which she earns by stitching
clothes, it’s up to the elder daughter to venture out to the big bad city of Mumbai to save the family in distress. It’s her loss of innocence and how circumstances force her into high class prostitution is the crux of the story. What happens when her younger sister travels after her to Mumbai and more importantly how does her family react to this transition of hers? There are some of real moments in the film. Varanasi has been portrayed beautifully and the small town feel appears authentic. Simpleton Rani’s struggle in Mumbai is very real and it touches you. The difficult city is filled with opportunists, and selfish people who can to go to any lengths to have their way.

It’s the actors who mostly help in justifying the subject. Rani Mukerji is absolutely natural. She gives another stupendous performance. Her expressive almond eyes convey a whole lot of emotions. Konkona is another good actor who suits the role and looks like Rani’s protected kid sister. Maybe Vidya Balan who was originally slated to do the role wouldn’t have suited the way Konkona has done. Jaya Bachchan as the small time mum from a poor family does a great job. So does Anupam Kher. Honestly the heroes have nothing much to do. Abhishek only lends his star power and has very little to do, even lesser than Kunal Kapoor who appears post interval. However Kunal as the
careless but smart ad executive is interesting and different and stands out. Hema Malini as a mujrawaali has a special appearance and the rest of the supporting cast(Suchitra Pillai, Taraana, Ninad Kamat, Harsh Chayya etc) are well cast. However Tinnu Anand and Sushant Singh come across as formula baddies. But it’s not that ‘Laaga…………’ is devoid of cliché filmi moments and predictability. Rani’s transition from simple small town to high society escort appeared rather quick One of the very few people who appear to help her (Suchitra Pillai) encourage her to turn into an escort and not something more respectable! Was it just because she was duped into a one night stand with the promise of a job? The girl who didn’t even know what ‘lingerie’ is becomes sophisticated overnight, very comfortable with her high profile life. Moreover the way the daughter was sent away from home in a jiffy with no security at all, also appears a little far fetched. The family getting ready for the Kunal- Konkona wedding and coming to know that Abhishek is Kunal’s brother when almost all wedding preparations are done is again very filmi. Hell should have broken loose when the family finds out what world the elder daughter is into, but it seemed all of them were taking the serious issue a little too lightly. Blame it on cinematic liberty maybe
Also the viewer kind of guesses the end, that Rani would be happily accepted and married.

The styling is wonderful. Rani and Konkona are simplicity personified in the initial part and later their looks suit them as they shift base and join their respective professions. Cinematography is perfect. As for the music, ‘Hum to Aise Hai Bhaiyyan’ is the best. The other songs are just about okay. Background score is good too. The lingo used by the characters suit the movie.

Producers Yash Raj continues experimenting doing films very different from what they are known for and this can be another one of that type. But in a Pradeep Sarkar film, you see Yash Raj touch in the two songs picturised on the two couples, Rani-Abhishek and Konkona –Kunal. This very unique blend of Pradeep Sarkar and Yash Raj might just work for the film, regardless of all the cliché involved.

Sneha Hazarika (SAMPURN)

Abhishek Bachchan Jaya Bachchan Ninad Kamat Konkona Sen Sharma Pradeep Sarkar Vidya Balan Sushant Singh Anupam Kher Charu Vyas

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