Rogan Josh movie review: Naseeruddin Shah's short film is a taut thriller that thrives on pregnant silences
Based on 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, Rogan Josh takes a poignant, microcosmic look at the damages that the terrorist attack caused to a family.
A family's dinner table conversation while tucking into a sumptuous bowl of Rogan Josh hints at the impending twist at the end of Naseeruddin Shah's 17-minute long Large Short Films offering Rogan Josh. Based on 26/11 Mumbai attacks, the short film takes a poignant, microcosmic look at the damages that the terrorist attack caused to one family.
The film begins with celebrated chef Vijay (Naseeruddin Shah) preparing his famed mutton gravy with utmost care and precision, when his wife Fehroza (Avantika Akerkar) enters the kitchen to engage in a playful banter with her husband on his 65th birthday, resulting in the mutton getting overcooked by two minutes. A disgruntled perfectionist, Vijay grumbles that it is the 'insignificant' 2 minutes that can completely alter the course of someone's life.
Even as Vijay's invitees, his wife's gynecologist Zakhir (Shishir Sharma), his much younger girlfriend Preeti (Shriswara) and Vijay's 30-year-old son Varun (Bhuvan Arora), gather around the dinner table to celebrate Vijay's birthday, the air seems dense with remorse and a sense of resentment. Vijay seems perpetually annoyed with his son, who is always late at every event, and leaves no opportunity to taunt him. Fehroza and Zakhir desperately try to diffuse the situation, but the exasperated sighs and uncomfortable stares are too conspicuous to be ignored.
The entire film is shot inside a house, which limits the audience's focus only to the exchanges between the family members. While the first few minutes comprise slow, long shots of the food being cooked in the kitchen, the latter part is replete with jagged hand-held camera movements and closeup shots. The repartee gathers pace as the twist that is hinted right at the introduction is about to get unfolded.
The cast does a terrific job with a script that thrives on pregnant silences. However, despite its crisp treatment with single shots on the calendar interspersed with blacked out screen, the ending seems to completely overturn the subtlety of the film so as to drive the point home. The shock value is diminished to a large extent as director Sanjeev Vig tries to spoon feed his audience 'the twist in the tale' based on a traumatic moment in India's contemporary history. The meat might have melted seamlessly inside the mouth, but the bones in this Rogan Josh stick out in the end.
Watch the film here.
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