Fim: 'Tell Me O Kkhuda'; Starring Esha Deol, Vinod Khanna, Rishi Kapoor, Dharmendra, Arjan Bajwa, Chanda Roy Sanyal; Directed by Mayur Puri/Hema Malini; Rating: ***
Take away all the awkwardness of the comic relief by Johnny Lever and a plot that moves through three segments without transitional smoothness... and you have a film that's tender, sweet and gentle.
'Tell Me O Kkhuda' (TMOK) is a bit of a smile-invoking ode to parenthood.
Tanya (Esha Deol, in an author-backed, tailor-made, custom-built role), happily ensconced in her life of parents (benign Farouq Shaikh-Deepti Naval), best friend (Chandan Roy Sanyal) and sweet-heart (Arjan Bajwa) discovers she is an adopted child.
Thus begins her genealogical journey.
The drama unfolds with the least fuss or ostentation.
To the narrative's credit, it dithers not from its picaresque aspirations.
Esha goes through three different emotional and geographical locations in pursuit of papa-dearest. Of these, the Turkish sojourn with Rishi Kapoor and the beautiful Turkish actress is the most crisply edited and packaged.
The Rajasthani sojourn with Vinod Khanna as a haveli-bound zamindar, meanders all over the place, subsuming issues such as female foeticide. Here the narrative makes ample space for a camel race which adds spectacle to the emotion without really saying much about the characters or their need to reach into the recesses of their heart.
The third segment which brings the real-life family of Dharmendra, Hema Malini and Esha together, has a certain emotional resonance because of the real-life relations. The family portrait is heart-warming.
Shot in stunning locations including Istanbul, the film could have done with a more evocative music score and tighter editing.
The performances range from the endearing to the endurable.
No doubt this film is meant to showcase Esha's evolved status as an actress. The girl has eloquent eyes and an expressive face which knows how to hold an emotion. Esha is a graceful portrait of a girl in pursuit of something echoing happiness.
'TMOK' is a heart-warming story of a search for identity. It occasionally loses its way but finally finds a satisfying culmination. This is a high-gloss product shot on exotic locations that include a young woman's wounded heart.