Fidaa movie review: Pathikrit Basu film suffers from cringeworthy dialogue, one-dimensional characters
Written in a style that is long passé, with cringeworthy dialogues mouthed by wooden characters that are strictly one-dimensional, Fidaa is a film that should not have been made at all.
castSanjana Banerjee, Yash Dasgupta, Anindya Chatterjee, Sairity Banerjee, Matt Townsend
Pathikrit Basu has directed a film – his second, I believe. The film is titled Fidaa. It is a deep dive into the minds of two contrasting personalities – Ishaan, who is a hot-headed hunk all beefed up and raring to go, muttering all his dialogues under his breath, and Khushi, a girl who thinks before she speaks – both occasions being extremely rare – and who permanently looks like someone has snatched her purse and run away. The two fall in love, then go through a breakup, and then meet again – this time in London – only to remain cold (not because of the weather there) and distant to each other, and are finally united because, you know, we have to go home. Boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl. Packed with innovative ideas, such as a bunch of goons trying to molest a lonely and hapless girl on a secluded railway platform in the middle of the night, and the hero arriving just in time to save her honour, it is precisely the sort of film that could launch a new wave of Indian cinema, something that our industry is in dire need of in these grim times.
Where do I begin? To tell the story of how great a love can be? Perhaps a good point to start would be when Khushi says she is hungry (this is literally minutes after Ishaan has beaten the goons molesting her black and blue). Never one to keep the wishes of his loved ones unfulfilled, Ishaan pulls away the tarpaulin off a handcart that some food-stall vendor has parked on the platform and gone home for the night; thus revealing eggs, coriander, tomato and all the normal ingredients necessary to make your ladylove a double omelette, when other unromantic options are unavailable. And he embarks upon the ritual with all seriousness, because, really, who doesn’t love a hunk who can cook? Oh, and he proposes to Khushi – again, in all seriousness – when the omelette is ready. Khushi, in turn, takes all her time, months in fact, to consider Ishaan’s proposal, and – hold your breath – rejects admission offers from the best colleges in the city to finally ‘pay donation’ in order to secure admission in the same college where Ishaan is studying, just so she can be with him. That’s how strong their love is.
Enter Ishaan’s good friend, sidekick and – in yet another ground-breaking concept – the comic relief of the film, whose achievements include (but are not limited to) being tied to a pole shirtless so that seniors can tickle his armpits with feather and…such. Also enter bad guy from senior batch who loves to rag juniors, and who gets beaten up by Ishaan when he tries to rag Khushi. You didn’t see that coming, did you? Anyway, one thing leads to another, and Ishaan and Khushi have an argument that spirals out of control. And then…no, wait, I can’t possibly reveal what happens next. The suspense is the most thrilling part of the film, as you may have seen from how the story has progressed so far.
Let me talk about the performances instead. Yash Dasgupta is Ishaan. He ‘does whatever he feels like’, because that’s how he rolls. Mouthing his favourite catchphrase ‘challenge accepted’ in the most difficult situations he finds himself in, he always manages to come out unscathed of such tough spots as – ahem – arriving late for his own graduation ceremony (how, just how, do the writers come up with such new ideas?). He is a cool, charming good-looking dude with zero social skills, and he falls in love with a girl because she has a pretty navel. Because you see, the 21st century youth knows for a fact that navels constitute the core foundation of a successsful modern relationship. In London, Ishaan is naturally the university topper, although he needs to work just a tad bit on his professionalism, because he refuses to take orders from his boss when he secures his first job, just because his boss has disappointed him.
Yash’s performance needs a bit of work, and someone who really wishes him well must tell him – at the earliest possible opportunity – that times are changing, and that one can go only so far riding on good looks alone. All jokes apart, despite all the mistakes he has made in this film, he comes across as a sincere guy who, unlike the plastic character he plays in the film, wouldn’t mind accepting a real challenge in life. If the young man wants to shine, which I am sure he does, he really needs to pull up his socks and focus on his acting.
Debutante Sanjana Banerjee plays Khushi. Sanjana’s biggest asset is her unconventional looks. While Fidaa glams her up and makes her play a one-note Barbie to Yash’s Ken, there is a possibility that a filmmaker worth his name could strip her of her heavy layers of makeup and make her play an ordinary girl in a sensible film. Contrary to what she may have been given to understand, only that can make her shine, and that is what she should be looking for in her professional life now.
Written in a style that is long passé, with cringeworthy dialogues mouthed by wooden characters that are strictly one-dimensional, Fidaa is a film that should not have been made at all. The biggest mistake committed in the project is by the director. Pathikrit Basu may continue to make movies that have no semblance of logic and reasoning in them, but he would do so at his own risk, because the ticket-buying public, who he clearly thinks very poorly of, and whose intelligence he has no faith in, will expect much more out of him, and if he does not deliver, they will be far more ruthless to his films than film critics.
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