Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Love Story of a Ghost

Saw Paheli at home and I must say I am impressed with the production values and the script. Palekar’s direction is taut and he manages to impart a lyrical quality to the film.
A fable set in feudal Rajasthan, the film is about the yearning for love that everywoman has. It has a strong feminist connotation and can also be situated in the modern context. It’s the tale of everywoman anywhere in the world. She yearns for love, while the man yearns for cash. She makes loves to a ghost because he fulfils her, and in an ironical way, the ghost also fills the empty spaces in a man and makes him whole. It’s a beautiful tale adapted from a story by Vijaydan Detha.

Those who criticised Paheli for showcasing the ‘feudal’ nature of India and encouraging ‘superstition’ have totally missed the point. They have taken the film literally while it’s a parable not only of a man woman relationship but also of love: of unrequited love and of enriching love. If at all, it shows the richness of Indian creativity, its colours and a vibrant social mosaic. AB as the wise shepherd gives a breakthrough performance. I can now understand why the film got selected as India’s entry for the Oscars. It’s a truly Indian film and needs to be celebrated for its classical treatment that doesn’t drag it down but elevates it to almost an art form. Chandran’s cinematography is magical. Well done, Amol Palekar. And SRK, hats off for producing it.
Do check out the official site. It’s cool. Also, this review at Rediff by Raja Sen beautifully captures the essence of Paheli.
And, oh, Happy Dussehra!