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|February 16, 2001||
Wine matures with time.
Unfortunately, the same can't be said about Grahan, which has now been in the making for a long while.
However, the film finally hit the marquee on Friday.
Dealing with the sensitive issue of rape, the story idea offered ample scope and possibility. The fact that the possibility remains unexplored and untapped is an altogether different issue.
Parvati Shastri aka Paro (Manisha Koirala) is a bubbly, naïve lower middle class girl, who supports her family, comprising her aged father and herself, by giving dance lessons.
Tragedy strikes when she becomes the lustful target of a chief minister's lecherous son Sanju (Prasad Purandhare). At his sister Suneeta's (Anupama Verma) insistence, Sanju hands over the case to lawyers cum siblings Raghu (Raghuvaran) and Jaggu (Jackie Shroff).
Incidentally Jaggu and Suneeta happen to be lovers too.
Things take an ugly turn when Jaggu discovers the 'real' truth. Burdened with guilt, he decides to unearth the missing Paro and procure justice for her.
Cut to the exotic locales of New Zealand (passed off as Mount Rose), where he gets a schizophrenic and crazy Paro treated.
Does Paro become normal? Is Jaggu successful in nailing down Sanju? Will Paro regain her lost esteem?
Answers to these will only be unearthed once you view the movie.
Not that curiosity will kill you, if you don't.
The film has far too many loopholes.
For starters, the characters are badly etched and inadequately fleshed out. Paro is far from convincing as the traumatised victim. Apart for some simpering and stuttering, her struggle against Sanju's advances is feeble and half-hearted.
In another shot, when she is with Jaggu during her treatment, she breaks into a sudden and uncalled for seduction number. Empathy with such an inconsistent character is impossible!
And trying to pass off Anupama Verma as the chief minister is a bit much.
The climax is even more confusing and ludicrous.
The audience is misled into believing something, which turns out to be quite different.
In the acting department, Manisha comes up with a sensitive performance. It may not be in the same league as Khamoshi or Bombay, but she is simply marvelous in a dramatic courtroom scene where she finally breaks down. It's her badly written role that lets her down.
Jackie is perfect as the subdued and controlled lawyer. But don't expect him to mouth great one-liners like Sunny Deol in Damini. Grahan has so many court room scenes, but it can't boast of a single punchy line to its credit.
Débutante model turned actress Anupama Verma (voice dubbed by television actress Grusha Kapoor) bags the meatiest part. Sadly, she doesn't display the needed maturity and conviction to handle it.
Grahan doesn't give any sign of being a long-in-the-making project. In a nutshell, Grahan misfires for the want of a tight script and hard-hitting characters.
Design: Lynnete Menezes
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