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Paheli November 13, 2006

Posted by Sai in Hindi, Movies, Reviews.

This movie is an overwhelmingly magnificent visual delight. Such spectacular use of colors, costumes (Shalini Sarna) and sets (Muneesh Sappel) is rarely seen. Hats off to Ravi K. Chandran for his cinematography and Amol Palekar (Daayra, Kairee, Anaahat) for bringing his vivid imagination to life. I was so enamored by the turbans in this movie (among other things). In recent times, I only remember such beauty in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s movies (as far as Hindi cinema goes) and this might be even better than those. For me this movie was totally worth it just for the visuals. I am sad that I didn’t get to watch this on the big screen.

The movie is Amol Palekar’s reinterpretation of Vijayadan Detha’s novel Duvidha. Critically acclaimed filmmaker Mani Kaul made the first version of this movie, Duvidha in 1973 (and won the National Award for it). This story has inspired another version in Kannada called Nagamandala that was based on a play by Girish Karnad (and features a snake instead of the ghost in this one).

The story is very appealing. Lachhi is married to Kishanlal, the son of a rich Rajasthani businessman. Kishanlal is a typical banya (reminds me of some peole I’ve seen) who is brought up to care only about business and money. The day after his marriage he is sent on a business trip. A ghost who has fallen in love with Lachhi takes his place when the opportunity presents itself. I wouldn’t want to reveal what happens after that.

Amol Palekar does a great job as the director but I did find some issue with the writing (Sandhya Gokhale). Some of the characters and situations seem forced. The soundtrack and background score by M.M.Kreem (Jism, Sur, Zakhm) is very good and enhances the movie. The visual effects (though limited) are quite good and don’t stick out like a sore thumb. Palekar extracts good performances from his cast. This is another performance from Shahrukh that is worth remembering after his work in Swades. He shows appreciable difference in the two roles and I quite liked his moustache. He deserves praise for the decision to produce this. Without him on board as producer, Palekar wouldn’t have got a similar budget to work with and we would have missed out. Rani looks beautiful and her performance is good too. The dependable supporting cast includes Anupam Kher, Juhi Chawla, Dilip Prabhavalkar, Rajpal Yadav and the voices of Naseeruddin Shah and Ratna Pathak Shah. I felt that Sunil Shetty and Juhi Chawla were quite unnecessary but when you can have their services, why not? Amitabh Bachchan also throws in a special appearance towards the end.

The story might appeal to many but the movie is slow by mainstream cinema standards because the plot is really simple and the movie is more about enjoying the ambience. Anybody who can enjoy these visuals shouldn’t miss this for anything. For me, this movie is worth watching even without sound or subtitles.



1. Shujath - November 13, 2006

I loved this movie for most part except for the climax which I thought was deliberately kept non-controversial. I am not aware of how things in the original novel transpire. I thought an apt ending would have been to make the ghost disappear forever and Lachhi telling the truth to the real Kishanlal – and probably Kishanlal realizing his folly and accepting her. Well…that was just my perspective to the story.

This is another instance I felt bad about an SRK movie flopping and being panned. Especially, after it was chosen as the official entry to the Oscars there was a concerted effort to put this down and hail the oh-so-pretentious Black.

Coming to the movie itself, “overwhelmingly magnificient visual delight” is the most apt phrase for it. I really wasn’t expecting to see something so vibrant and beautiful. Also, the visual effects were really well done.

Though it can be accused of being slow, I did not really feel the pain as the plot was fresh and there was quite a bit of suspense in it for a viewer to stick along. On the whole, this is one of Shahrukh’s finest movies (which I definitely was not expecting before I saw it – given the bad things I read about it).

2. Apoorva - February 2, 2008

I think the climax is really the best part of the film. I think the point of the ghost entering the real kishan’s body is an extremely subtle hint to understanding the inner layer of the whole story….that the two kishan’s are really two aspects of the same person. The lover and the duty-bound solider/worker. Its very Shakspearesque.

3. ganesh(devraj) bhasker thakkur - May 21, 2008

Respected Sir,
“PAHELI” Meri Ab Tak Ki Favourite Filmo Me Se Ek Hai,I Like the Story.Mujhe Lagta Hai Agar SHAH RUKH KHAN “paheli” Ke Sequal Ke Baare Me Sochien To Bahot Achcha Hoga,Iske Dwara Wo “paheli-2” Me BHOOT Ke Karnaame Dikha Sakte Hai.Kyonki Wo Pedwala BHOOT Abhi Bhi KISHANLAAL Ke BODY Me Hai,Is Se Achchi Shuruwat Bhala Kya Ho Sakti Hai.

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