When mainstream producer Vashu Bhagnani, a believer of hardcore commercial cinema, shakes hands with critic turned film-maker Khalid Mohamed, who tilts more towards serious/arthouse cinema, you keenly anticipate the results.
The question uppermost on your mind is, Will Khalid succeed in his third attempt? Has he matured into a sound storyteller finally?
SILSIILAY is treated realistically, with modern-day characters and incidents that the moviegoer of today can identify with. From children out of wedlock to pre-marital sex to the step-son falling in love with his step-mom, SILSIILAY talks about the changing mindsets and issues that are very contemporary.
The only similarity between SILSIILAY and the Hollywood flick THE HOURS is that both the films tell the story of three women living in different places. The similarities end there!
On the flip side, a concept like SILSIILAY is akin to walking on a tight rope. It comes across more as an experiment, since a subject like this may appeal to a very tiny segment of viewers [who prefer the home-viewing experience, not cinema halls], not the aam junta.
Ideally, a film that looks at real-life situations should've had a concise length [1.30 hours], with minimal songs.
SILSIILAY narrates the stories of three women, who're not even remotely connected with each other. Nor do the three come together till the very end. This keeps you wondering what prompted the writer-director to put together three diverse stories in one film.
Story 1: Zia [Bhumika Chawla] is a leading Bollywood actress who expects a child out of wedlock from Neel [Rahul Bose]. But Neel believes in the institution of marriage. The lovers drift apart after a bitter confrontation.
Story 2: Anushka [Riya Sen] is a telephone receptionist who longs to discover tenderness in her relationship with Nikhil [Ashmit Patel]. Meanwhile, her office colleague, Tarun [Jimmy Shergill], loves her silently. The working girl must decide between the two.
Story 3: Rehana [Tabu] is a housewife who must confront the fact that her husband Anwar [Kay Kay] is being unfaithful to her. Preeti [Celina Jaitley] plays the third angle of the tempestuous triangle.
SILSIILAY starts off very well, with Shah Rukh Khan acting as the sutradhar and introducing the three protagonists in the film [Tabu, Bhumika, Riya].
The first story focuses on Bhumika and Rahul Bose, which sets the ball rolling. The sequences between the two are expertly handled, with the confrontation sequence being the highpoint of the story. Even the turning point in their story, when Rahul discovers that his fianc?is cheating on him, is well handled.
The second story, pertaining to Jimmy, Ashmit, Riya and Natasha, is not appealing at all, partly because it looks like one of those routine triangles, with two guys falling for one girl. The story actually stagnates soon after the interval when Riya gets to know the truth. But boredom sets in at this stage!
The third story, involving Kay Kay, Tabu, Celina Jaitley and new-find Karan, is the boldest of the lot. The film not only looks at an extra-marital affair, but also incest. The life-like relationships have been handled with maturity, with each character delivering true-to-life performances. The confrontation sequence is the best part of this story as well.
Director Khalid Mohamed has handled a few individualistic sequences well, besides extracting wonderful performances from all the ladies in the enterprise. But, as mentioned above, the concept and treatment of the three stories is such it would appeal to a miniscule segment of cinegoers.
As the screenplay writer, Khalid's writing is not without its share of faults. One wonders why the protagonists -- Bhumika, Riya and Celina -- refuse to marry the men they love, even though the guys propose marriage to them. No explanations are offered on that one.
Another flaw is the culmination to the film. Ideally, the film should've ended when [a] Tabu walks out on her husband, [b] Bhumika informs Rahul that she is pregnant and [c] Riya waves goodbye to Jimmy at the airport. Stretching the story thereafter [the accident, Bhumika delivering a baby] only adds to the length of the film.
Himesh Reshammiya's music is soulful and seeped in melody. 'Ban Jaiye', 'Mera Chandi Mera Sona Tu', 'Ahista Ahista' and 'Chahat Ki Guzarish Hain' are compositions that stand out. The title track -- filmed on SRK -- is catchy as well. Santosh Sivan's cinematography is up to the mark. Dialogues are natural.
The film has an ensemble star cast, but the one performer who towers above the rest is Tabu. The actor, who has portrayed a wide variety of roles in her illustrious career, handles the part with dexterity yet again.
Bhumika Chawla is a complete revelation. She looks alluring in a glamorous avtaar. Celina Jaitley is better than her earlier films. Besides, she contributes to the glamour quotient enormously. Riya Sen takes a step forward as an actor. She is effective. Natasha is first-rate. Divya Dutta has a brief role and she does an okay job.
The guys get ample footage, but not enough to equal the women. Rahul Bose is competent enough. Jimmy Shergill looks good and performs ably. Ashmit Patel is decent, but the long hair tones down his personality. Kay Kay is, as always, dependable. New-find Karan manages to make his presence felt despite sharing the screen space with actors like Tabu and Kay Kay. SRK is good.
On the whole, SILSIILAY is more of an experiment that caters to a very small segment of moviegoers. At the box-office, the film holds no appeal for an ordinary cinegoer. Below average.