170422 Taran Adarsh

Tehzeeb Review by Taran Adarsh

1

Khalid Mohamed attempts a woman-oriented flick again. And like his earlier films [as writer, as director], TEHZEEB, his latest flick, also looks at relationships.

Tehzeeb [Urmila Matondkar] has nursed a grudge against her mother Rukhsana [Shabana Azmi] since her childhood.

Rukhsana, a playback singer, is a celebrity in her own right. Tehzeeb suspects her to be the cause of the sudden death of her father, Anwar [Rishi Kapoor]. Rukhsana was even tried in court for murder, but was declared not guilty.

Much against her mother's wishes, Tehzeeb marries a writer, Salim [Arjun Rampal], and settles down with him at a hill station far away from the city. Tehzeeb's mentally challenged younger sister Nazneen [Dia Mirza] also lives with them.

Rukhsana decides to visit her daughter and son-in-law for a few days. Everything goes fine initially, but the tension between them resurfaces eventually.

An interesting story. But is it original? Nope!

A filtered version of Ingmar Bergman's 1978 Swedish flick HOSTSONATEN [AUTUMN SONATA], which itself was loosely based on Ingmar's youth, a similar story was also attempted by Rituparno Ghosh in UNISHE APRIL [Bengali; 1994; starring Aparna Sen, Debashree Roy].

With an ensemble star cast and a fantastic technical team [writer-director Khalid Mohamed, cinematographer Santosh Sivan, music composer A.R. Rahman, dialogue writer Javed Siddiqui, art director Sharmishta Roy, sound recordist Rakesh Ranjan�], one expects TEHZEEB to be a cut above the rest.

TEHZEEB tells the story of a broken relationship between a mother and daughter, and appeals to a degree. Not in totality�

The uppers �

  • The dramatic sequences between Shabana and Urmila are the best part of the enterprise. The sequences when the ladies confront and spit venom at each other keeps the viewer's interest alive. The confrontations are not just well penned, but equally well emoted.


  • Arjun Rampal balances the goings-on beautifully. Although his role is not as powerful as Shabana or Urmila's, the easy-going attitude his character reflects injects that certain sheen to the enterprise.


  • The performances are of a high order. Actually, the film rests on three shoulders � Shabana, Urmila and Arjun.


  • But the film is not without its share of downers �

  • The screenplay could've been more cohesive. The film tends to drag at places, it even tends to get boring after a point. That's because, after the ladies have fought, you expect the tension to build up further, but nothing really happens. They are back to being normal, but rake up old issues after a couple of minutes, yet again.


  • There are several unwanted sequences and tracks in the film. For instance, Urmila doing a take-off on Shammi Kapoor, Zeenat Aman, Sridevi and Mehmood just doesn't appeal. It simply falls flat. The same goes for the Arjun Rampal � Diana Hayden track, this could've easily been avoided. Also, the reason that prompts Diana to behave lecherous seems ridiculous. Even Satish Kaushik and Namrata Shirodkar seem forced in the goings-on.


  • A.R. Rahman's music is plain mediocre. Let's put it this way � knowing the talent Rahman possesses and the output he is capable of delivering, the music lacks that Rahman trademark. Although a couple of songs are tuneful, a few of them have been injected in the screenplay without any valid reason whatsoever. Besides, the music is in keeping with the mood of the film, but it holds scant appeal for the youth of today.


  • But the biggest drawback is its climax. The culmination to the story and the note on which the film ends [a song begins abruptly!] mars the impact of the film completely.


  • Director Khalid Mohamed has handled several individualistic sequences with flourish [especially the mother-daughter confrontations], but is letdown by his own script. Now, this is all the more surprising since the writer had a classic like AUTUMN SONATA to fall back upon if at all he needed reference points! Also, he has treated the subject in such a manner that it will find flavour with a select few only.

    Santosh Sivan's cinematography is outstanding. Dialogues [Javed Siddiqui] are realistic.

    TEHZEEB belongs to Shabana Azmi and Urmila Matondkar jointly. It's a delight watching Shabana on the big screen after a hiatus. This performance reaffirms the fact that there's none to match this actor when it comes to histrionics.

    Urmila tends to go overboard at times, but is brilliant in a few sequences. Like the one in the hospital or prior to that, when she confronts her mother, who in turn slaps her � her expressions are just perfect!

    Arjun Rampal is a revelation. The actor manages to create a strong impact despite this being a woman-oriented theme. His fan-following is bound to multiply, post- TEHZEEB.

    Dia Mirza hams throughout. However, the disco-kind-of-a-number she breaks into [!!!] is simply ridiculous and can easily be deleted. Rishi Kapoor does his part mechanically. Diana Hayden makes a terrible debut. Her accent only worsens things. Rekha Rao is adequate.

    On the whole, TEHZEEB lacks the power to captivate, mesmerise and enthral the viewer, courtesy a weak script. At the box-office, the film caters to a niche audience � the intelligentsia/gentry/pseudo critics � which might appreciate it, but an overall acceptance is ruled out. The business prospects at select multiplexes of metros [not all the multiplexes] will be better, but that's not saying much!

    Tehzeeb 1 Taran Adarsh 20031205