Film: Dil Kabbadi
Banner: Paramhans Creations, Studio 18
Producer: Shailesh R. Singh
Director: Anil Senior
Cast: Rahul Bose, Irfaan Khan, Rahul Khanna, Konkona Sen Sharma, Soha Ali Khan, Payal Rohatgi, Saba
In the early nineties, director Woody Allen made a film called Husbands and Wives. Years later, jumping to 2008 a copy of the film was issued from a library and the thought of making the same in Hindi just seemed exciting. A few weeks here and there a little more stretched out and voila, Dil Kabbadi.
Call it what you will–copy, inspired or adapted; the truth is this film is a decent fare that is thoroughly enjoyable. It’s mature, intelligent and arguably, a bit long. It all begins when Samit (Irrfan Khan) and Mita (Soha Ali Khan) break the news of their separation to close buds Rishi (Rahul Bose) and Simi (Konkona Sen Sharma). With much hue and cry, Samit and Mita finally separate, to be soon followed by Samit’s pleasure treat with Kaya (Payal Rohtagi).
Meanwhile, Rishi and Simi are figuring out their relationship, to soon realize that may be things are not what they seem. At this juncture enters Veer (Rahul Khanna), the perfect bachelor, that both Simi and Mita are seeking. While love takes a U turn, relationships are strained, mended and broken in Dil Kabbadi.
Yes, it’s true the film is a convenient reproduction of Husbands and Wives, but let us not discredit the fact that this film is entertaining. Rules aside, Dil Kabbadi does have a sound premise with well defined characters. It explores marriage like never before, adding zing and spark to a subject that has been treated with much too much seriousness. The dialogues are witty and spot on. Backed by good performances, the humor works and is saved from being pretentious.
Conversations are treated with much realism and the bickering in the film seems lifted from real situations; but with that cinematic magic that makes it seem interesting. Watch the scene where Sen walks in to Bose brushing his teeth and tells him she wants to do it, extremely well executed. Or watch an uncomfortable Irrfan walk into a lingerie store wanting to buy brasseries for his lady love but can’t figure out her cup size. Kudos to the director and actors for executing these scenes with finesse, for if not, they would seem crude.
The narrative with characters talking to the camera as though being documented is interesting and novel, for one hasn’t seen much of it in Hindi films. In essence the wall between the audience and actor is broken. Even technically the film is well crafted. The camerawork and use of music is good; while the film could have done with a lot more editing, considering the fact that the English film was only a bit over an hour and half long. In a bid to add a sense of completeness to the film, it moves back to show flashes of the characters’ past, which at certain times seem unnecessary. Furthermore, the film in the second half does get a bit tiring as the pace slows down and nothing much is seen happening until the last half hour.
With respect to performances the film does boast of an excellent one from Soha Ali. She is seen adding life to her character and she essays her character with flair. The minute movements she makes add a new dimension to her character. Irrfan too performs exceedingly well, as his comic timing and delivery is fantastic. Bose on the other hand is seen making his character seem dull and pretty much essays his character in the same manner he does for all his other films. Konkona too fails to stand out in her role; she does not dazzle as she usually does. Khanna in his short role is effective. Rohtagi as Kaya is frustrating.
The best way to put it would be, watch Dil Kabbadi. The film is smart, intelligent and mature.