India Masala

Bollywood and culture in an emerging India

Videsh: Stark and unsettling

March 27, 2009

Watching Deepa Mehta’s “Videsh” is not a very pleasant feeling. Watching a woman getting bruised and beaten up never is.

The film is a stark, often unsettling tale that tears into a phenomenon of our times — the NRI marriage. And director Mehta does not shy away from the tough realities this film is about.

Preity Zinta plays Chand, a Ludhiana girl who is sent to Canada to get married to Rocky, a taxi driver she has never met.

Rocky lives with his family — parents, sister and her family — and Chand soon realises life as a non-resident Indian is not all it’s made out to be.

Mehta also builds a portrait of a lower middle-class NRI family — all living in cramped quarters, struggling to make ends meet and in conflict with their identities.

The abuse starts soon enough — the provocation being Rocky’s overprotective mother (who even barges in on the couple’s honeymoon).

At first, Chand tries to win over her husband but when she realises it’s futile, she turns to her only refuge in a strange country — her own imagination.

But she is soon unable to distinguish between reality and fantasy.

I don’t want to reveal any more for fear of ruining the plot, but Mehta uses this concept of the power of imagination to show Chand’s resilience and her ultimate victory.

Unfortunately, the plotline isn’t entirely as convincing as it should have been and at times it even seems contrived. Also, this film has some stark imagery and some fairly disturbing scenes, so be warned.

“Videsh” (or ‘Heaven on Earth’, which is its international title) is not a film for everyone, but watch it for Zinta‚Äôs nuanced performance as Chand — going from a coy bride to a hardened woman ready to fight. She is magnificent.

Comments

Never heard of this movie, but I will be looking for it, sounds good. Bollywood type movies are very interesting, first got hooked by “Monsoon Wedding”. Bollywood should market to the U.S. more, especially if at least a portion of the movie has English.

Posted by Michelle | Report as abusive
 

Had too much expectations with this film but dissapointed with this. As rightly mentioned by you, it never felt good watching someone bruished. Could not understand 60% of dialogues as they were in pure Punjabi. Preity imagination (or whatever truth) was indigestable and still thinking what was the end ? Total waste of my lovely day.

 

Waiting eagarly for that movie to see the outstanding performance of Preety Zinta. Hoping for successful results for Deepa Mehta’s film. All the best to her.

 

What’s the difference between this and Provoked? Provoked was based on a true story in England using Aishwaraya. This is using Priety and is based in Canada. It’s a very common story which has happend to many innocent girls in India getting married to NRIs, so the story retold over and over is crucial. However, with Mehta’s status, I expected something different.

Posted by Amritpal | Report as abusive
 

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