Yeh Saali Zindagi

Yeh Saali Zindagi

Director: Sudhir Mishra

Cast: Irrfan Khan, Arunoday Singh, Chitrangda Singh, Aditya Rao Hydari, Sushant Singh, Saurabh Shukla, Prashant Narayannan, Yashpal Sharma, Vipul Gupta


Movie Review: Yeh Saali Zindagi The title instantly conjures up a welcome robustness. That phrase is not so much invective as part of the slangy, easy-speak DNA of so many-- an affectionate, ironic, all-encompassing metaphor for life and how it's such a bitch. 'Yeh Saali Zindagi', Sudhir Mishra's new film, could have been all this and so much more. Instead, it turns out to be a sore disappointment, mining the director's familiar territory to little effect.

The sort of rogue's gallery that Mishra rolls out in his gangster films is all here, with a variation or three. Arun( Irrfan) is a shady fellow of some skill, in love with the guitar-strumming nightclub singer Preeti (Chitrangda ), who is in love with spineless Shyam ( Gupta), about-to-be son-in-law of a minister who lives in a huge farmhouse. Small-time crook Kuldeep ( Arunoday) is interred in Tihar Jail ( yes, this is a Delhi movie), but is on the verge of getting out, at which point he will have to make a choice : does he kiss his reluctant wife ( Rao Hydari) into panting submission, or join up with the bad guys ( Sushant-Narayannan-Sharma) to get his paws on some lovely lolly? Oh yes, before I forget, Saurabh Shukla plays a Mr Mehta, who operates out of a Gurgaon high-rise, doing the kinds of dubious things which cause stacks of illegal cash to grow in Swiss bank accounts.

Other characters drift in and out of this crowded, disjointed film, which keeps giving us expository labels as to location and situation. I lost track after a point. At his best ( `Hazaaron Khwahishein Aisi', and to an extent, `Iss Raat Ki Subah Nahin') Mishra is capable of paring down character and place to the point of newness, a fresh engagement with things we thought we knew. It doesn't happen here. Both the delicious Irrfan and the smoky Chitrangda are ill-used. None of the other actors, including the attractive second leads Aditi and Arunoday ( the credits tell us that this is the latter's introductory role; it isn't) are played to their potential :when will the talented Prashant Narayannan get his due?

... contd.

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