Certain films are targeted at the festival circuit and also to win critical acclaim. The story and the execution are so abstract that you actually wonder whether an avid cinegoer of today would be able to comprehend it.
RAINCOAT is one of those films. An offbeat film on all counts, there's nothing in the film that you actually carry home once the screening has concluded. All you do is sit in the auditorium and watch two people indulge in non-stop meaningless chatter in one dingy dark room of a dilapidated house. And the conversation is so dull, drab and boring that you actually wonder what writer-director Rituparno Ghosh was trying to convey through this film.
RAINCOAT has nothing to offer: No story, no drama, not even great performances? As for entertainment, forget it!
All he wanted was to see her just once. Manu [Ajay Devgan] was from a village in the backwoods. Neeru [Aishwarya Rai] was the girl next door, his lost love.
No one supported him in his desire, neither his family, nor his friends. After all, she was the woman who had broken his heart and married for money when all he had to offer were his dreams.
He came from his small village to the big city of Kolkata with hope in his heart. His pockets were empty and he was desperate for employment. He found his way to her house on a wet afternoon in a borrowed raincoat. She met him draped in silk, and shrouded by darkness in a strange gloomy house crowded with furniture.
There in the dark, hidden from the world by the rain, the two relived their past. They talked and talked and yet said nothing.
Coming from the director of CHOKHER BALI [Bengali], RAINCOAT is a terrible letdown. Very honestly, films such as these and more particularly subjects as the one in RAINCOAT are ideally suited for plays [theatre]. But when top-of-the-line actors Ajay Devgan and Aishwarya Rai agree to act in a film, you definitely expect at least arresting performances, if not an interesting story.
The conversations in RAINCOAT get so tedious and monotonous after a point that it makes you squirm in your seat. To state that the narrative moves at a lethargic pace would it putting it very mildly.
The first half has nothing interesting to offer, but thankfully a worthy-of-note character is introduced in the post-interval portions [Annu Kapoor] and the conversation between Ajay and Annu does keep you involved at times.
But, again, Annu's character disappears suddenly and Ajay and Ash are back talking non-stop. Even the end is so sudden and abrupt that there's no impact whatsoever.
Rituparno Ghosh's direction deserves no points. The film is too offbeat, atypical and nonconforming for the Indian audiences. Cinematography is passable. The background music is minimal.
Both Ajay Devgan and Aishwarya Rai are strictly okay. No great shakes definitely! Annu Kapoor is the scene stealer. Sameer Dharmadhikari is adequate. Mouli Ganguly leaves a strong impression.
On the whole, RAINCOAT will appeal to a handful of critics and connoisseurs of art house cinema [await 5-star ratings yet again!] who'll heap lavish praises/lustrous words, but from the box-office point of view, RAINCOAT will face stormy weather at the ticket window.