Khalid Mohamed attempts a woman-oriented flick again. And like his earlier films [as writer, as director], TEHZEEB, his latest flick, also looks at relationships.
Tehzeeb [Urmila Matondkar] has nursed a grudge against her mother Rukhsana [Shabana Azmi] since her childhood.
Rukhsana, a playback singer, is a celebrity in her own right. Tehzeeb suspects her to be the cause of the sudden death of her father, Anwar [Rishi Kapoor]. Rukhsana was even tried in court for murder, but was declared not guilty.
Much against her mother's wishes, Tehzeeb marries a writer, Salim [Arjun Rampal], and settles down with him at a hill station far away from the city. Tehzeeb's mentally challenged younger sister Nazneen [Dia Mirza] also lives with them.
Rukhsana decides to visit her daughter and son-in-law for a few days. Everything goes fine initially, but the tension between them resurfaces eventually.
An interesting story. But is it original? Nope!
A filtered version of Ingmar Bergman's 1978 Swedish flick HOSTSONATEN [AUTUMN SONATA], which itself was loosely based on Ingmar's youth, a similar story was also attempted by Rituparno Ghosh in UNISHE APRIL [Bengali; 1994; starring Aparna Sen, Debashree Roy].
With an ensemble star cast and a fantastic technical team [writer-director Khalid Mohamed, cinematographer Santosh Sivan, music composer A.R. Rahman, dialogue writer Javed Siddiqui, art director Sharmishta Roy, sound recordist Rakesh Ranjanï¿½], one expects TEHZEEB to be a cut above the rest.
TEHZEEB tells the story of a broken relationship between a mother and daughter, and appeals to a degree. Not in totalityï¿½
The uppers ï¿½
But the film is not without its share of downers ï¿½
Director Khalid Mohamed has handled several individualistic sequences with flourish [especially the mother-daughter confrontations], but is letdown by his own script. Now, this is all the more surprising since the writer had a classic like AUTUMN SONATA to fall back upon if at all he needed reference points! Also, he has treated the subject in such a manner that it will find flavour with a select few only.
Santosh Sivan's cinematography is outstanding. Dialogues [Javed Siddiqui] are realistic.
TEHZEEB belongs to Shabana Azmi and Urmila Matondkar jointly. It's a delight watching Shabana on the big screen after a hiatus. This performance reaffirms the fact that there's none to match this actor when it comes to histrionics.
Urmila tends to go overboard at times, but is brilliant in a few sequences. Like the one in the hospital or prior to that, when she confronts her mother, who in turn slaps her ï¿½ her expressions are just perfect!
Arjun Rampal is a revelation. The actor manages to create a strong impact despite this being a woman-oriented theme. His fan-following is bound to multiply, post- TEHZEEB.
Dia Mirza hams throughout. However, the disco-kind-of-a-number she breaks into [!!!] is simply ridiculous and can easily be deleted. Rishi Kapoor does his part mechanically. Diana Hayden makes a terrible debut. Her accent only worsens things. Rekha Rao is adequate.
On the whole, TEHZEEB lacks the power to captivate, mesmerise and enthral the viewer, courtesy a weak script. At the box-office, the film caters to a niche audience ï¿½ the intelligentsia/gentry/pseudo critics ï¿½ which might appreciate it, but an overall acceptance is ruled out. The business prospects at select multiplexes of metros [not all the multiplexes] will be better, but that's not saying much!