Pritish Nandy Communications' SUR, directed by Tanuja Chandra, brings to your memory the Amitabh-Jaya musical hit ABHIMAAN. Though, of course, SUR lacks the intensity and emotions of the yesteryear hit.
Vikramaditya (Lucky Ali), a famous singer, is looking, searching, longing to find a great student and make a star out of that student. He stumbles across Tina Marie (Gauri Karnik), who has a divine, silky voice, as she sings a prayer in a church.
Vikramaditya goes on to chisel Tina's talent and slowly, she emerges a brilliant singer. When Vikramaditya realises this, he starts feeling jealous and he begins to compete with her. He starts to break her confidence. He becomes a destroyer.
He agrees to let her sing with him for his new album, but sabotages her performance by dominating and overpowering her. Completely shattered, Tina leaves the school and goes back home.
Amidst jubilant celebrations for the record-breaking sales of Vikramaditya's album, he faces his own ugliness. He goes back to Tina's town, with the intention of brining her back to his school where he will complete the job he had left unfinished.
But Vikramaditya discovers a completely changed Tina, who has left her sister's bar where she used to work and is living in the church where she is undergoing training to become a nun. Vikramaditya pursues her everywhere, requesting her, even begging her to sing.
Tina finally relents, but agrees to sing only once with him in the concert that the music company has arranged for him. Just seconds before he is to go on stage with Tina, Vikramaditya disappears. The management panics as no one can contact him anywhere, and to buy time they ask Tina to sing, to keep the anxious crowd down.
And Tina sings like a beauty. Faraway, in a lone car parked somewhere, Vikramaditya listens to her awesome performance on his car radio.
SUR has an interesting story, but the narrative is not as gripping as it should've been. That's mainly because the screenplay goes haywire in the post-interval portions. The emotions, conflict and drama don't come across as strongly as one would expect.
The film does take off well and the first half also has a couple of well-penned sequences. The story gains momentum 10 minutes before the interval, when Lucky's character turns grey. The song ? 'Aa Bhi Ja' ? at the interval point is simply outstanding. The rift between Lucky Ali and Gauri is brilliantly executed.
But the post-interval portions belie the expectations. The sequences outside the church look amateurish and even those with the nun (Gauri's friend) look out of place. Besides, the sudden change of heart ? Lucky wanting Gauri back ? could've been better thought of. The romance between the two is half baked ? whether it exists or not is difficult to tell.
Tanuja Chandra succeeds in extracting fine performances from the principal cast, but falters mainly thanks to her own weak script. The goings-on are least convincing in the second half and what's more, the narrative moves at a snail's pace, thereby making the viewer restless.
M.M. Kreem's music is exemplary. The film has some soulful music to boast of and at least three numbers can easily be singled out ? 'Aa Bhi Ja', 'Dil Mein Jaagi Dhadkan Aise' and 'Tu? Dil Ki Khushi'. Cinematography (Nirmal Jani) is wonderful.
Lucky Ali enacts his part with utmost ease and is a complete natural. Camera friendly and confident, he provides ample evidence that a singer can make a good actor as well. Gauri Karnik looks ordinary, but is a bundle of talent. Simone Singh is first-rate. Achint Kaur and Divya Dutta lend adequate support.
On the whole, SUR holds appeal for a select few in metros only. For the hoi polloi, looking for masala, the film has precious little to offer.