Friday, September 22, 2006

Dor - 3 stars

Have you ever seen a film which your head says is 'good' but your heart does not embrace? Dor is a film which did that to me.

The story is simple but intriguing enough. Two young men go to the Gulf on work, leaving behind their young wives. The unforeseen happens... Shanker Singh topples (or is pushed off?) the balcony of the house they share. Aamir is convicted of murdering him and sentenced to death.

But under Saudi Arabia's Sharia laws, Aamir's wife Zeenat has a ray of hope. If Shanker Singh's widow 'forgives' the accused and signs a maafinama, his life can be spared. The film is about Zeenat's search for the wife, knowing only that she lives somewhere in Rajasthan. And on the basis of a single picture.

So yes, the story is 'different' but... It's somehow unconvincing. Zeenat is 100% sure that 'mera Aamir aisa nahin hai' - that Shanker's death was a 'haadsa' and not a murder. But we never know, really.

That's the big issue - there are smaller ones as well. For instance, since when did widows in Rajasthan wear dark blue clothes? I always thought they wore white! In fact, the clothes Meera wears after Shanker's death resemble a burqa more than anything else... and this seemed odd to me throughout the film.

I also felt that for the first time Nagesh Kukunoor has made a film which got caught up in exotic foreigner-friendly locations. That the backdrops got more importance than the struggle of the characters themselves.

And honestly, I wish he would at best make a cameo appearance and not actually play a part in every film. At the very least, he needs to lose that Hyderabad-meets-Hudson accent!

Gul Panag as Zeenat is an excellent choice but someone other than Ayesha Takia should have played Meera. She is not bad, but not all that great either. Shreyas Talpade plays a 'bahrupiya' and his role is to add some lighter moments to an otherwise ekdum serious film.... So serious that the lead actresses don't even wear any make up. Shreyas has performed well.

Actually, 'Dor' reminds me of the kind of films which were made in the 80s and dubbed 'feminist'. Zeenat comes to Meera to ask for her help, but ends up liberating her. Convincing her that her life is hers alone to live and that she must make her own decisions.

And yet, unlike Iqbal, you can't feel good at the end of it all... So watch it if you will, I just can't recommend it too strongly.

P.S. Also releasing today isKhosla ka Ghosla. The film gets 4 stars from JAM - read the review here.


  1. Hey, first of all, a Malayalam movie has been made with the exact same story with Meera Jasmine as the Muslim person's wife. Wonder if it has been acknowledged anywhere.

    And second of all, widows in some castes do wear dark blue stuff in Rajasthan and Gujarat.

  2. Hi,
    The story seems to be a carbon copy of the Malayalam movie 'Perumazhakkalam'. I don't know if it is a remake with due acknowledgements made.


  3. It's a copy of "Perumazhakkalam" but there has not been may acknowldgement at all.The Malayalam movie was well recieved and shown at the International Film Festival of Kerala. It uses the backdrop of incessant rain (mazha) to drive home the pathos and the sense of belonging and helplessness shared by the 2 women - a Muslim women (Meera Jasmine) and Hindu brahmin (Kavya Madhavan).

  4. The malayalam film was outstanding. The rain was a beautiful metaphor.
    First of all, all the hindi & tamil films which are remade from malayalam films end up as rotten products, because they dont know the basics of cinematic art.

  5. Pezhumazahakaalam wasn't an outstanding film by any means but it was a decent watch. Going by Iqbal, I am not expecting too much of DOR either. But it's surprising that a filmmaker like Nagesh Kukunoor hasn't even bothered to credit the malayalam filmmaker.

  6. the first few lines of ur post,,, and I was thinking hey! isn't it perumazhakalam.... well, I guess that has already been said..
    for all non-mallus:

  7. Anonymous6:24 PM

    I happened to see an interview of Nagesh in some TV channel where he virtually derided the bollywood directors on their propensity of getting inspired from Hollywood without acknoweledging. He said it isnt intellectual honesty. What happened to his intellectual honesty now?

    For records, 'Perumazhakaalam' won the Best Film On Social Issues

  8. perumazhakalam is based on elements of a true story... i can't find the link to the original story but perhaps this is nagesh kukkunoor's reinterpretation of the original story. There is also an Iranian interpretation called 'dame sobh'. For some reason i cannot find the news report of the story. what's interesting about this is that it does not focus on the pros/cons of justice in saudi arabia but on the characters.

  9. I have heard a lot about this movie, including this one. Looking forward to seeing it once the Internet Gods grace me.


  10. I couldnt disagree more with you on this one.

    1. The movie is a great positive looking leaves the hall feeling nice and not depressed!

    2. Ayesha Takia is an excellent choice since she has an innocent face(much needed for the character).Also since she does not have a very famous/known past record...there are no set expectation..for e g in a konkana.

    3.Shreyas Talpade:has also done a brilliant job, and the humour does not look like a pile on,artificial bit.

    4. Yes, it is a femmist what...?? HAvent we been watching male dominated,only romance oriented movie for years together.

    5. It does not matter whether Amir murdered him or not..the movie was about a woman's belief in something.

    6. Yes, it is difficult and sounds a little unreal that someone can be found on the basis of one photograph..but when it anything perfect...i think we can learn to ignore somethings and see the large picture.

    BTW,great blog...keep it going

  11. Good movie indeed.. only bad thing was to see Girish karnad being wasted like this..

  12. Pretty good movie... I fell that somebody like Juhi Chawla could have been better suite for Ayesha's role. When ayesha refused to sign on the mafinama, gul should have tried to convince her. I think it was wierd that she had put such less effort in convincing her... well alls well that ends well!!

  13. hi,

    haven't seen the film, but i did read an interview with Kukunoor (sp?) where he says clearly that he had the idea to make the film after seeing the Malayalam film at IFFI - unless I'm dreaming this up (since I can't seem to find the article/interview I refer to)

    Also, I don't know exactly, but the colour traditionally supposed to be worn by widows varies from caste to caste in Rajasthan - white is by no means universal. Brahmin widows usually wear white, but it is possible that Rajput widows traditionally wore either black or dark blue. Incidentally, blue was the colour of mourning in Mughal India, and was not considered auspicious - this custom probably came to India from Persia. I do know that black is the colour of mourning among the Rabari. I recall Govind Nihilani's 'Rukmavati ki Haveli', for example, which transposed a Lorca play to Rajasthan - and the widow in that wore black all the time. So I don't know for sure, but I suspect that there may be some reason that the widow is shown wearing dark blue in Dor...

  14. Nagesh Kukunoor said in an interview on rediff that he bought the story from Kamal. So I guess that is a fair thing. Finally a decent remake of a Malayalam movie. News is that Manichitrathazhvu is being made in Hindi.

  15. Ho we jump to conclusions and cannot wait to pull someone down. I just saw DOR and thought its the best film I have senn in the last ten years. I also saw the original malaylam film and where that is dark and depressing, DOR is bright with hope and beflief in the human spirit. Kuknoor has bought the remake rights from the producer, Salim Padiyath though he needn't have as its only the basic story line thats common and if people have the courtesy to watch the end credits they will see the acknowledgement of T.A. Rasik, or original story! A sincere suggestion to all to go see DOR to know what beauty on celluloid is.

  16. People who complain that this is a lift off Perumazhakalam have only to look at the scriptwriter. In both Permuazhakalam and in Dor it is T.A. Razak and I guess Nagesh has rightly credited him. I guess the screenplay and other stuff are totally Nagesh's or his team's/

  17. Perumazhakkalam is very nice movie. i saw that 2 times. Both kavya and meera did very good jobs. I am really happy to know that kavya madhavan got best actress award for her acting in this film.

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  22. Anonymous10:43 AM

    艾葳酒店經紀是合法的公司、我們是不會跟水水簽任何的合約 ( 請放心 ),我們是不會強押水水辛苦工作的薪水,我們絕對不會對任何人公開水水的資料、工作環境高雅時尚,無業績壓力,無脫秀無喝酒壓力,高層次會員制客源,工作輕鬆。

  23. Anonymous12:39 PM

    Failure to agree with them is 'heresy'. Failure to behave properly is a 'sin'.
    have lost or abandoned religion in the traditional sense by now, or have retained only a tenuous, formulaic connection, or have veered off into various unsatisfying concoctions of "spirituality"....................................


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