With the influx of multiplexes in the country, ideas that don't really fit into the commercial format have suddenly found an outlet and most importantly, an audience. And since mid-2004, a number of films [read middle-of-the-road cinema] have been hitting the marquee with amazing regularity.
Thoughts that may've originated from newspapers or novels or even bizarre, realistic events are now being attempted by dream merchants. But do interesting ideas on paper turn out as interesting on celluloid?
On paper, debutante director Ruchi Narian's KAL - YESTERDAY & TOMORROW may sound like a love triangle and murder mystery rolled into one, but what unfolds is so bizarre, so wacky, so unconventional that the one question you want to ask Ruchi is, Hello, what is your target audience?
Ruchi has a different style of narrating a story, but cinema such as KAL - YESTERDAY & TOMORROW is not everybody's cup of tea. It gets too complicated as it unfolds!
First the love storyï¿½
Tarun [Shiney Ahuja] and Bhavna [Chitrangda] seem made for each other. It's understood by their coterie of friends that they would marry some day. Instead, Tarun marries Maya [Smriti Mishra], Bhavna's best friend. Obviously, Bhavna is hurt and decides to call off the friendship. However, Bhavna doesn't get over the fact that her lover has married her best pal!
Now the murder mysteryï¿½
One fateful night, Tarun suddenly shows up at Bhavna's residence. The next morning, Maya's sudden demise [or is it murder?] creates headlines. Maya is a leading industrialist's daughter and her death creates a big noise. The needle of suspicion points towards Tarun, her husband, since he would inherit her millions. Also, Tarun is known for his lust for wealth and power!
Also embroiled in the ruckus are Bhavna's father [Boman Irani], Tarun's socialite sister [Sarika], Maya's kin [Saurabh Shukla] and a news-reporter [Ram Kapoor], who falls in love with Bhavna.
The first thing that debutante Ruchi Narain ought to know is that any story should be narrated in the most simplistic fashion. But Ruchi's story runs on multiple tracks [love story, murder mystery, the political games that corporate houses play] and her storytelling style is so difficult to absorb [read offbeat] that the impact of some well executed sequences evaporates into thin air.
Ruchi is letdown, and terribly at that, by a sloppy screenplay. The story moves back and forth time and again and a few portions are so difficult to comprehend that you actually tear your hair in disgust. Like, the relationship between the news-reporter and Bhavna gives an impression that the former wants nothing but a juicy story for his channel, although he claims to be in love with her but does nothing to protect her from her problems.
The 'pact' that the two warring families arrive at in the pre-climax is left unexplained till the end. Or, perhaps, the viewer could not fathom the heavy-duty politics that's transpiring between two families. The finale, when Smriti Mishra spells out the reasons on camera, is interestingly shot, but her reasons to commit suicide lack a solid reason. In the first place, whatever happened to the expose [tapes] that Shiney had with him, to unmask Saurabh Shukla?
The film also tries to capture the essence of DIL CHAHTA HAI when it looks at the relationship amongst friends, but even that falls flat.
Ruchi Narain is a fine technician, she knows the importance of good frames, but how one wishes she knew the power of a sound screenplay as well. Editing is another area where the film suffers. To state that the editing is loose would be an understatement. The editor should've reduced the length of the movie by at least 30 minutes. The narrative goes on and onï¿½ Cinematography [Prakash Kutty] is consistent. The background score [Sneha Khanwlkar] is appropriate. Dialogues are truly wonderful at places.
KAL - YESTERDAY & TOMORROW boasts of a number of talented names, but the ones that stand out are Chitrangda, Ram Kapoor and Sarika. Chitrangda is a complete natural. Her outburst when provoked by the television channels is simply amazing. Ram Kapoor is an actor to watch! He handles his part with complete understanding and delivers a knockout performance. It's indeed a pleasure to watch Sarika after a hiatus. She is excellent!
Shiney Ahuja is strictly okay, but goes completely over the top in the climax. Smriti Mishra is capable. Ditto for Boman Irani and Saurabh Shukla. Murad Ali is effective enough. Murli Sharma gets no scope. Malaika Shenoy is passable.
On the whole, KAL - YESTERDAY & TOMORROW abounds in minuses, more than plusses. At the box-office, it'll go completely unnoticed!