Review - Via Darjeeling: Lost in translation from script to screen

wogma rating: The keen should rent; else TV (?) - extra credit for trying a rarely attempted concept
quick review:

The broad concept is truly intriguing but the basic story is like a balloon losing air...phuuussss

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I couldn't stop laughing for about a minute after the credits started rolling. And had a smile on my face for the next few minutes. Nope! Even the most easily amused can't term this one a comedy. I am just kicked by how the audience is taken for a ride. It's not a super-fun ride because by no means is it a great cinematic experience or an entertainer. It's just a smart concept that didn't manage to keep me hooked.

In the interest of sounding a little less abstract and yet be truthful to the theme of this blog, I'm going to use an analogy. Say, you are a teacher who's going to introduce a new topic to the class today. To make the lesson more interesting you choose to play a game. Now the idea of playing a game is really neat, but, BUT if you choose a boring game, you have lost your class. Your creativity is admirable, but the class is not engaged.

So, the idea of playing a game here is the broad concept of Via Darjeeling and I'm going to call the choice of game, the basic story. The conversation between a bunch of people discussing an event can only be as interesting as the event. As a character points out, this discussion could have been a classic study of human nature. But it's not, because the basic premise is lame.

The story is somewhat saved by the ever-reliable Kay Kay Menon. The subtle changes in his character as he moves from one part of the movie to the next, are absolutely attributable to his performance. You can actually see some of it in Parvin Dabas' act too. Sonali Kulkarni's hammed up performance can also be passed off under the guise of her character's eccentricity and ambiguity.

But, the entire set-up of friends talking, having fun, quibbling with each other, came off as extremely superficial. If one relationship oozed with extreme familiarity at one point, in the next, the same characters would be saying things to each other that made them seem like strangers. There's only fleeting interplay amongst the characters.

So, while the individual characters were detailed, the relationships were very broadly sketched. And we are talking about the likes of Vinay Pathak, Rajat Kapoor, Sandhya Mridul, Prroshant Narayanan here. I have liked their work in one movie or the other, so am not willing to blame them completely for lack of the proverbial chemistry.

Compound that with the overall drawling tone of the movie and you can't be blamed for getting a wee bit fidgety. And if that wasn't enough, the songs are absolutely misplaced, and don't go with the ambiance created by the movie.

Yet, the director cannot be written off, because he tried. Tried something not ventured into easily by Hindi cinema - a story without a closure. There's after all no conflict that needs resolution. And trying out gets brownie points around here. Along the way, he also commented on the basic nature of humans to indulge themselves in something that doesn't concern them whatsoever. And though it doesn't hook the audience, it surely teases them right through to the end.

- meeta, a part of the audience

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: None.
  • Sexual content: Not really. A couple of mild suggestive lines and mention of adultery.
  • Concept: Children below 10 might not be able to follow the story line and children above 10 (actually adults too) might not be able to fathom the why?
  • General Look and Feel: The movie does have a dull lull about it.

Via Darjeeling - Movie Details

Via Darjeeling - Trailer

Comments (5)

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meetu:

hmmm..."assessing single incident with different point of views"...is that what this one is about? I love such movies. Haven't seen "suraj ka saatva ghoda" yet! :(

:

Via Darjeeling - Review...

The broad concept is truly intriguing but the basic story is like a balloon losing air...*phuuussss*
Idea gets lost in translation from script to screen.

Yet we need to give extra credit for going with a concept rarely tried....

Sudhir Nair:

// I am just kicked by how the audience is taken for a ride //

Somehow that line makes me look forward to the film. I saw the rediff review also and it made me feel there's genuinely something hatke..let's see, may catch it.

And speaking of taking audience for a ride u must watch a Spanish movie called 'Incautos' (Swindled). That movie really takes the audience for a ride and the audience loves it as well !

meetu:

That would be a good idea, Mayur.

That was the intention, Sudhir. The only thing I liked about the movie is how the audience was totally frustrated in the end. Good or bad, it at least had a non-numbing effect on the brain.

Both of you, do let us know what you thought of the movie.

RONNY:

"YEP THIS KIND OF MOVIES I LOVE AND VIA DARJEELING IS A VERY GOOD FILM AND THE SCRIPT WRITER HAS WRITTEN A FANTASTIC SCRIPT AND THE ACTORS HAVE DONE A FABUOLOUS WORK ESPECIALLY KAY KAY MENON

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