FIZA, produced by The Culture Company in association with U.T.V. Motion Pictures and directed by Khalid Mohamed, is the story of a young girl in search of her brother who disappeared during the communal riots of 1992-93 in Mumbai.
FIZA revolves around the relationship between a widowed mother (Jaya Bachchan) living in the hope that her son (Hrithik Roshan) will return one day, and her daughter (Karisma Kapoor) who, fed up with living with uncertainty, resolves to go in search of her brother.
Nishatbi, the widowed mother of Fiza and Amaan, is more than optimistic that happiness will once again re-enter their homes. The mother and daughter stride to lead their lives normally, but are always beset with one important question -- Where is Amaan?
Refusing to come to terms with his absence and after making every effort to trace him, Fiza sets out to determine whether Amaan is dead or alive. Using various methods -- be it through the media, politicians or the law enforcement agencies -- Fiza embarks on her mission that brings her into contact with various characters and situations.
There are chances that Amaan could have some compulsions that prevent him from returning home. Chances are also that he had certain inescapable reasons for breaking away from home.
Either way, can Fiza bring back Amaan home? And if she can, can life be beautiful once again for the devastated family?
As one sets out to watch FIZA, there are so many questions that fill your mind?
* Will Hrithik Roshan live up to the expectations?
* Cast in a role that is shades different from his launch pad, will Hrithik be accepted in a role that is genuinely 'hatke'?
* Will the masses accept two top-ranking stars, Hrithik and Karisma, as brother and sister?
* Will the hardcore Hrithik fans digest the ending of FIZA?
* Will film critic Khalid Mohamed, who has written off so many commercial films in his reviews, come up with a commercial film that is devoid of flaws?
* Will FIZA provide oxygen to the lungs of a drought-stricken film industry that has been facing rough weather since the past couple of weeks?
* Will the press be supportive to Khalid Mohamed's maiden venture or will he receive flak, thereby getting a taste of his own bitter medicine?
* If at all FIZA succeeds, will it be attributed to Khalid Mohamed's direction or Hrithik's presence and popularity?
The story of FIZA is an amalgamation of several films. The basic plot is loosely inspired by the Dev Anand flick HARE RAMA HARE KRISHNA (in this case, the only change here being the sister goes in search for her brother!), while certain portions remind you of the Ajay Devgan starrer ZAKHM and the ending reminds you of VAASTAV.
The first half of this eagerly-awaited enterprise establishes the plot rather convincingly and manages to keep the viewer's interest alive. But the very next scene after the interval, when Karisma gets Hrithik home, the story comes to a screeching halt.
What follows thereafter is the romantic track between Karisma and Bikram Saluja, which does not excite the viewer one bit. Besides the romantic track, the political scenario that is thrust upon the viewer is totally unwarranted, thereby confusing the viewer. Even otherwise, why Manoj Bajpai wants to kill Hrithik in the end, is not explained.
Khalid Mohamed seems to have set out to make a middle-of-the-road film and strike a balance between commercial and parallel cinema, but alas! The film would neither appeal to the hoi polloi, nor the 'Balcony Class' audience.
FIZA also suffers on several accounts:
* The biggest flaw of the film is its faulty screenplay that has several loose ends. The story runs on too many tracks in the post-interval portions, thus diluting the essence of the story.
* As many as three songs in the second half makes the viewer restless. The title track ? 'Fiza', 'Aankh Milaaongi' and 'Na Leke Jaao' seem forced in the screenplay. The 'Aankh Milaaongi' number is totally out of sync with Karisma's character, who is all through the film shown in a typically Muslim character but, suddenly, gets into a trendy leather outfit. It gives an impression of being a forced commercial ingredient.
* The screenplay gets too grim in the latter portions and one feels suffocated after a point of time. The film lacks in light moments and the sole comedy scene -- involving Johny Lever -- also gives an impression of being included in the plot to enhance the commercial value of the film.
* Khalid Mohamed's direction is an absolute letdown. Despite the presence of successful and talented names in the cast and accomplished technicians (cinematographer Santosh Sivan and editor A. Sreekar Prasad), the outcome is below the mark.
Khalid Mohamed has proved that pointing out flaws in reviews is one thing and scripting and directing a film is a different ballgame altogether. The film tries hard to strike a balance between commercial and parallel cinema, but the outcome, unfortunately, is neither here, nor there. Technically speaking, the outcome is mediocre.
Santosh Sivan's camerawork is brilliant in patches, but out of focus at times. Even otherwise, it lacks the finesse normally associated with his films. The background music could've been better. Action scenes are well composed and look realistic. Editing is one of the biggest culprits. How one wishes the editor would've used the scissors more effectively!
Anu Malik's music is a saving grace. The film has two gems ? 'Mehboob Mere' and 'Mahiya'. The picturisation of both the songs is top class. The A.R. Rahman-composed song ? 'Piya Haji Ali' ? leaves a lot to be desired. Dialogues (Javed Siddiqi) are well worded and sound natural.
The mainstay of the film is undoubtedly Hrithik Roshan. His body language, his diction, his expressions, his overall persona deserves great praise. With this film, Hrithik proves that there is more to him than just being a fashionable rage, a Mills & Boon lover-boy and a sex symbol. His talent comes to the fore in several scenes, especially those with Karisma. All said and done, the show belongs to Hrithik, who saves FIZA to a major extent. A brilliant performance undoubtedly!
Karisma Kapoor is bound to win all the accolades and laurels. Her role demanded desperation and the honesty with which she approaches her character, is extremely effective and should fetch her all the awards in the coming months. This is undoubtedly her best performance to date.
Jaya Bachchan comes up with a seasoned performance. Neha and Bikram Saluja have no roles to talk of. Manoj Bajpai fails to impress in an insignificant role. He deserved a better role. Asha Sachdev is just about okay. Sushmita Sen sizzles in the dance number.
After the super-success of KAHO NAA? PYAAR HAI, FIZA happens to be the second release of the teen sensation, Hrithik Roshan. Which explains why FIZA has taken a historic start all over. But the film is weak in content and despite a great start, will start crumbling after the initial craze subsides. Businesswise, whatever it achieves, would be solely due to Hrithik Roshan's immense popularity and the hit musical score, though one did expect a lot more from a director who has seen cinema from close quarters.