Attempting a mature love story can prove to be a daunting task. Instead of taking a risk-free step by making the usual commercial potboiler, debutante director Shashi Ranjan travels into an alley where many first-timers wouldn't dare to venture.
DOBARA is watchable for two reasons -
- One, it boasts of fine performances.
- Two, it signals the arrival of a sensitive storyteller - Shashi Ranjan.
But DOBARA isn't without its share of blemishes. The sluggish pace of its narrative and classy treatment act as barricades. And the pre-climax portions, involving the child and the conclusion to the triangle, take the graph of the film downhill.
Ranbir [Jackie Shroff] is living in marital bliss with his wife Anjali [Mahima Chaudhary]. But one phone call changes everything. On the other side of the line is Jia [Raveena Tandon], his former lover with whom he had a relationship pre-marriage, which ended when Jia turned schizophrenic.
Jia informs Ranbir of a well-kept secret that tears his world apart. He has a son by his former lover! This son is now purportedly residing with a family, Prof. Mehta [Vikram] and his wife [Soni Razdan], in Goa and Jia wants Ranbir to accompany her to wish their son on his birthday. Dumbstruck, he decides to go to Goa with her.
Meanwhile, Anjali decides to follow them to Goa. When Ranbir, Anjali and Jia come face to face, there are fireworks. But the trio settle the issue and meet the Mehtas and the son.
On one hand is the past [Jia] and on the other is the present [Anjali]. Ranbir has to make a choice!
Sensitively handled, DOBARA strives to strike a balance between realistic and commercial format. If the sequences between the three principal characters look straight out of life, the usage of songs [two songs are placed one after the other in the post-interval portions!] give you the impression of being incorporated because most Hindi films appear imperfect without them.
DOBARA grips you gradually. Once the initial introductions are done with, the story comes straight to the point - a man torn between two women. And as the reels of this multi-layered film unfold, you start being a part of the story.
The grip is maintained till about 20 minutes of the second half. The confrontation in a hotel lobby - when the two women come face to face for the first time - is amongst the skillfully penned and executed sequences of the enterprise. Unfortunately, once the fireworks freeze, so does the plot.
The film slips considerably the moment the child surfaces on the scene. From being a triangle, the focus suddenly shifts to the child and you feel an all-new story has begun. Ideally, the child should've continued to remain a fictitious character that never existed in the first place. Given Raveena's characterization, it would've been more appropriate had this aspect also been a wild imagination.
Even the finale, when Raveena states that she is completely cured of her illness, seems bizarre. Given her complex nature, there's no incident that actually brings her back on the right track.
Also, references to EK DUUJE KE LIYE time and again seem inappropriate.
Director Shashi Ranjan has handled the subject with flourish. He has drawn excellent performances from the key cast and even otherwise, his handling of a few sequences deserves to be lauded. But how one wishes he'd not gone off-track in the pre-climax and climax.
Anu Malik's music is melodious. 'Humnasheen' and 'Mujhse Kyon Roothe Ho?' are foot-tapping, racy numbers; the first track providing the much-needed relief in the slow narrative. Cinematography is pleasing and captures the various moods well.
Though Jackie, Raveena and Mahima have a number of films to their credit, their performances in DOBARA would stand out in their resume. This is Jackie's most convincing performance since KAASH and PARINDA. The actor is completely focused this time around!
Raveena is in sync with her character, essaying her part with ?n. Her expressions are just perfect! Mahima is first-rate. The confrontation scene in the hotel is proof enough that she's indeed an efficient actress.
Pakistani actor Muammar Rana is a revelation. In a small but significant role, the actor comes across like a breath of fresh air. He oozes confidence, emotes well and has a strong screen presence. He is a graceful dancer as well.
Gulshan Grover is likeable in a brief role. Soni Razdan and Vikram leave an impression in cameos. Vrajesh Hirjee and Seema Biswas are adequate.
On the whole, DOBARA is a mature love story that would appeal more to the intelligentsia at metros. At the box-office, the film will face an uphill task due to certain reasons -
- The film lacks a compelling star cast to draw the crowds.
- The theme and making is not the type that would appeal to the masses.
- And, most importantly, released with three other films, the business is bound to be divided.
The film will have to rely on word of mouth to salvage its position!