DILWALE DULHANIA LE JAYENGE continues to magnetize spectators and film-makers alike. Whether one acknowledges it or not, the Aditya Chopra movie remains a focal point for most raconteurs, inspiring film-makers of all generations. The Chopra scion may/may not feel flattered, but let's not overlook the fact that every film cannot attain the cult status of D.D.L.J. either.
Pramod Chakravorty's illustrious banner made several significant films that were well appreciated by moviegoers. Most of them have tremendous recall value even in the present day. 2012 marks the 50th year of the banner and as luck would have it, his grand-son Prateek makes his debut as writer, producer, director and actor with FROM SYDNEY WITH LOVE.
Prateek coins a new terminology for his debut film, referring to it as a fam-com [family comedy], but offers precious little to support this jargon. Though the plotline doesn't completely resemble it, you can't help but draw parallels with KUCH KUCH HOTA HAI in the first hour and D.D.L.J. and to an extent, KYA KEHNA! in the post-interval portions. Unfortunately, the writing, the execution of the written material and also the acting of some of the actors is way below the mark. Resultantly, despite the right intentions of making a 'young film', Prateek's endeavor doesn't achieve the desired results.
Meghaa [Bidita Bag], a small town girl in West Bengal, earns a scholarship from the prestigious University of New South Wales in Australia to pursue her Masters degree in Economics. She embarks upon her maiden expedition to Sydney, leaving her protective shell and family behind.
Meghaa slowly embraces her new life in Sydney and makes a new set of friends, which includes Lubaina [Evelyn Sharma], Raj [Prateek Chakravorty] and Suhail [Karan Sagoo]. Love and romance is not on her agenda, but she loses her heart to Rohit [Sharad Malhotra], a fellow student in the University with whom she starts gelling right from the word go. However, an incident shatters Meghaa's peaceful world and she returns to her hometown in West Bengal.
FROM SYDNEY WITH LOVE seems like a showreel created for Prateek Chakravorty to exhibit his numerous talents. Besides writing and directing the film, Prateek also has a pivotal part [read the central character] to depict in the account. In fact, the meatiest part in the enterprise belongs to Prateek, while the hero, Sharad Malhotra, makes an exit in the second hour, only to return in the concluding stages of the movie. It's not sacrilegious to be the centre of attraction, but you need the charisma and talent to carry the film on your shoulders, which, unfortunately, Prateek lacks as an actor.
The writing is hackneyed, while the dialogue are jaded. The soundtrack [Sohail Sen] is quite good, with at least two standout tracks -- 'Chalte Chalte' and 'Ho Jaayega'. The DoP [Piyush Shah] captures the spectacular locations of Sydney with dexterity.
Sharad Malhotra is the sole actor who makes an impact, pitching in an effortless performance. His absence in the second hour is a deterrent. Prateek is miscast. Bidita carries the attitude this character necessitates, but is just about tolerable as an actor. Evelyn Sharma appears photogenic, but gets no scope. Reshmi Ghosh has a tiny role. Karan Sagoo is inexpressive. Veteran Sabyasachi Chakraborty, enacting the part of Bidita's father, is flawless.
On the whole, FROM SYDNEY WITH LOVE is an amateurish attempt.