My Birthday Song movie review: Sanjay Suri is trapped in a clever concept gone dull

Anna MM Vetticad

Jan,19 2018 10:29:18 IST

1/5

Most people worry about the end of their youth. What may be just another birth anniversary in the eyes of some, could turn into a nightmare for those who view the start of a new decade in particular with dread. In Rajiv Kaul’s case, you can take that literally. A tragic death – murder or accident? – mars his 40th birthday, but he wakes up the next morning to find that all seems to be well and that the bloody episode of the previous night appears not to have happened at all.

Tidbits from that day, however, keep repeating themselves, in different ways and different settings. At first, the premise is interesting enough. Has Rajiv slipped through a crack in the universe and got caught in a time loop in a Groundhog Day Redux? Is someone playing a cruel joke on him? Is he the victim of a crime? Is the film capturing the goings-on in the imagination of a mentally unwell individual? Or is this just a metaphorical depiction of gerascophobia, the fear of ageing?

Sanjay Suri in My Birthday Song.

When My Birthday Song initially throws up these questions, it evokes curiosity. After a while though, it reveals that it has little to offer beyond its clever concept. The repetition of events in Rajiv’s life then becomes increasingly dull rather than fascinating as it should be, so that by the time the answer is unveiled, it does not have the desired jolting effect. Ho hum. Yeah yeah, very smart, but…yawn.

Model-cum-TV-star-turned-debutant-film-director Samir Soni’s My Birthday Song lacks punch in its narrative style, depth in its writing and imagination in its camerawork. Among other things, it also sorely needs some layering in its examination of Rajiv’s crisis of conscience that is a crucial part of this tale.

Soni has co-produced this film with his lead star, Sanjay Suri. The screenplay too is Soni’s, with inputs by Vrushali Telang.

In Onir’s My Brother Nikhil (2005) and Nandita Das’ Firaaq (2008), Suri has shown us that he is capable of complexity given the right project and director. He is earnest playing Rajiv Kaul in My Birthday Song, but the screenplay gives him little to sink his teeth into. His co-star Zenia Starr, playing Rajiv’s wife Ritu, shows some spark that may be tapped in a better film.

This birthday song goes flat too soon to sustain interest.

Updated Date: Jan 19, 2018 10:53 AM