Review: David


Cast: Vikram, Tabu, Neil Nitin Mukesh, Vikram Virmani, Isha Sharvani, Saurabh Shukla, Rohini Hattangadi, Monica Dogra, Nasser, Milind Soman

Directors: Bejoy Nambiar

Indian Express rating: **

This could well have been the pithy pitch for Bejoy Nambiar's new film of the same name which zooms in on 1975, 1999, and 2010 on the same day/date, and switches back and forth between time zones and countries/cities : London, Mumbai and Goa. The three strands are unified through a device : the men who are the focal point of the stories all go by the same name.

It's an interesting conceit, and Nambiar's film has stylistic flourish, reminding us of the striking parts in his debut 'Shaitaan'. The first David (Mukesh) lives in black-and-white London ( '75), following the paths laid down by a powerful gangster, surrounded by shadowy bearded men sporting obviously Muslim names. This David is the right hand man of the mob boss, and when he is not keeping the old man's enemies at bay, he is romancing fiery lass ( Dogra).

The second David ( Virmani) is in Mumbai ('99), the son of a priest ( Nasser) targeted by a rabid Hindu righ- wing politician ( Hattangadi). The young man, all long dread locks and strumming guitar at the ready, is left traumatized and hurt. The third lives in Goa ( 2010). This David ( Vikram) is a permanently soused fellow who spends most of his time getting how to love and live tips from BFF (Tabu) who runs a massage parlour. He keeps pouring the sauce down the hatch, and lurching about till one days he sees a vision-in-white ( Sharvani), the girl who is about to marry his best friend. Thud goes his heart.

My problem with 'David' is not that it didn't suck me in, on and off . There were a few passages which are well executed, and there's no lack of drama in those : Nambiar knows how to lift scenes and inject tension. What the film doesn't do is to pull together. Within each strand itself there are loose parts, which even smart editors like Sreekar Prasad can't do much about. The film is also hobbled by inconsistent acting : some of it is credible, some is strictly passable. I will make special mention of Vikram and Tabu, who were the prize casting duo : both these good actors are given fuzzy, thankless roles, and neither is able to rise above them. Plus there are confusing bits bobbing about. All three Davids have major daddy issues, and all three are seeking resolution . There's also the Hindu-Musalmaan-Isaai build-up , picked up from the societal movements during these past decades. The connections built up through these remain feeble : you can see the film trying to achieve a point of significance in each segment and falling short.

... contd.

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