Bollywood and culture in an emerging India
Yeh Saali Zindagi: Too many twists
Watching Sudhir Mishra’s “Yeh Saali Zindagi”, you get the distinct feeling that somewhere there’s the germ of a great movie in here. The problem is that Mishra burdens the film with so many subplots and assorted characters that it’s difficult to rummage among them and come up with the main plot of the film.
The film, which revolves around three characters and the events leading up to one day of action, stars Irrfan Khan as Arun, a fixer who works for a money-lender, and must save Priti (Chitrangada Singh), the woman he loves, from the clutches of a kidnapping gang. But things are not as simple as they seem at first glance.
Priti is involved with another man, who is engaged to a minister’s daughter and is kidnapped in the hope of ransom by Kuldeep, who wants to quit his criminal ways after this one last kidnapping, because his feisty wife won’t take him back otherwise.
How the three of them and their lives intersect is what most of the film chronicles. Mishra manages to keep the pace taut and the dialogue, co-written by him and Manu Rishi, has plenty of swear words and is racy enough to keep you interested.
The two big flaws in the film are the presence of too many characters and subplots. Somewhere in the middle, you might find yourself wondering “who’s that guy, what’s this relation to this other guy, and how is it essential to the story?”
The other problem is with the watered-down performances. Except for Irrfan Khan and Saurabh Shukla who plays his boss, both the other main actors, Chitrangada Singh and Arunoday Singh are inhibited and awkward, unable to invest enough in their characters for you to be invested in them.
In the end, “Ye Saali Zindagi” isn’t the kind of film that makes for easy watching. If you are willing to pay enough attention, and forgive the somewhat indulgent pace, you might find yourself enjoying it.