Eye candy and misplaced accents: What the Dickens does Fitoor have to do with Kashmir?

Subhash K Jha

Jan 07, 2016 11:10:19 IST

The trailer of Abhishek Kapoor’s eagerly-awaited Fitoor is out, and it’s one helluva pretty picture. With Katrina Kaif as the beauteous Firdaus, and Aditya Roy Kapur's intense expressions, Fitoor has piqued our interest. Then, there is Tabu playing her mother, a role earmarked for Rekha. Tabu stepping into Kashmir territory once again so soon after Vishal Bhardwaj’s Haider, and that too for the role of the protagonist’s mother (who looks like her sibling) doesn’t quite add up.

With all this female beauty up there in the trailer can the female gaze be ignored? Not at all. The trailer has a well-positioned shot of a bare-bodied Aditya Roy Kapur right at the start. Ladies, go feast your eyes.


Katrina Kaif and Aditya Roy Kapur in Fitoor. Youtube screen grab.

But does Aditya look Kashmiri? Did he look Lucknowi in Daawat-e-Ishq? There’s a disturbing lack of rhythm in his screen presence, which makes way for a physical and emotional awkwardness that worked when he played a short-tempered alcoholic in Aashiqui 2. Here, reciting Urdu couplets in sighing splendor just doesn’t seem his cup of tea, or noon chai.

Fitoor uses the Valley’s snow-capped splendor to contour the passionate liaison between Kaif and Kapoor. It’s all very easy on the eyes. But the minute Katrina utters her first word in the trailer, the romantic façade crumbles to the dust.

How can we have a Kashmiri girl speaking Urdu with a British accent? It’s like Dickens' Estella from Great Expectations speaking with a Kashmiri accent.

More disturbing than Fidaus’ thickly-accented Urdu is the trailer’s attempts to bring in the complex and sensitive politics of Kashmir into the plot.

There is an emotionally surcharged scene in the trailer where Katrina is being escorted down the stairs by Rahul Bhat (the actor from Ugly, more in-command of the situation in one shot than Aditya Roy Kapur in the entire trailer).

Roy Kapur stands on top shouting down to Katrina, “Doodh manga toh kheer denge, Kashmir manga to cheer denge.” (If you ask for milk, I’ll give milk pudding. But if you ask for Kashmir, I’ll destroy you).

Not knowing the context of this patriotic outburst, one wonders if it is morally right, not to mention politically correct, for Indian filmmakers to use militancy in the Valley as a backdrop to their storytelling. Does Abhishek Kapoor even understand the complexity of the politics in Kashmir? If not, is he justified in throwing in lines about Kashmir and kheer just to enhance the drama?

Fitoor is supposed to be the Bollywood adaptation of Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations. It doesn’t look anything like Dickens from the trailer, but it’s not really Abhishek Kapoor’s fault. The journey from Chetan Bhagat to Charles Dickens is a long one.

Updated Date: Jan 07, 2016 11:12:19 IST