Ye Saali Zindagi - Review
It's quirky and funny. It's twisted and largely unpredictable. It's pacy and just the right amount of overwhelming. It is dark and carries off a style of its own. Frequent flashbacks make whacky situations even more intriguing. And Irrfan Khan and Chitrangda Singh are as reliable as ever in keeping your eyes glued to the screen when they are on. Alas, this is also accompanied with some silly animation, choppy flow and too many characters with almost none developed in detail. And yet, it is something you should watch, if not immediately, in the future for sure.
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Yeh Saali Zindagi is a crime comedy that hooks you in like any thriller should and tickles you throughout, exactly like a good comedy would. Kidnappers goof-up, victims of the crime offer help and end up in messier situations. These are the kinds of situations that Yeh Saali Zindagi is built upon. The basic plot is whacky - just like the individual tracks and the characters.
Just as you get used to one sub-plot a new twist is waiting its turn, and yet it doesn't feel rushed. Magically, the events of the previous scene have registered. Surprisingly, at no point is there information overload, which could be an issue for films that go back and forth. Your comfort with the proceedings could well be because all non-linearity is only in terms of flashbacks and most of it is in context too. For example, a character goes into happy memories of the past to relieve himself of physical pain and so on.
I thoroughly enjoyed the wit in the writing. It's not just clever dialogue - the overall story, the build-up, and the sequence in which the sub-plots come also have inbuilt humor. I might have enjoyed it better if I knew more about the characters, not in terms of backstory, but anything that made me feel for them - it'd have been nice to connect an emotion to a character. But then again, it's not required that I feel for anyone in a film that falls in this bracket - a dark comedy. I enjoyed their idiosyncrasies for what they are.
A lot of it is of course, credited to Irrfan Khan. The man has just the perfect sense of timing that this kind of humor needs. Chitrangda Singh too is one of the reasons why you want to watch this film. There are a host of other characters and interesting actors playing them out, but none other than Arunoday Singh have enough screen time. Arunoday Singh though seemed very uncomfortable and a misfit in this gang of goons.
And then there are irritants like voiceovers and animated airplanes. I don't enjoy voiceovers in general, but ones which educate you about 'life' have to be really profound to maintain the interest. Also, they have become such an integral part of Hindi films of this genre that the tone used is the same and so is the manner in which it is delivered.
Another downer are the choppy edits, the kind I found disorienting in director, Sudhir Mishra's earlier film Khoya Khoya Chand. And this too I could have lived with, without complaining, because of the smart content. But the lame and unnecessary superimposed text showed that the director/writer seemed to have lost respect for his audience in post-production. Also the silly animation had no rhyme or rhythm. The intention must have been to make it comic, but the animation just didn't fit with the rest of the humor in the film.
There are other decisions which made the film a richer experience. The camerawork made it a trippy experience. Though I don't understand why so many shots (day shots too) are almost completely dark. Did they take the genre too literally? But since there are so many scenes where the actors can barely be seen, it feels like the lighting decisions are made to hide their lack of skill.
What counts though is that the film is enjoyable despite the dark ambience. What is remarkable is the performances aren't breathtaking, the characters don't connect but the general feeling of having watched a good film stays with you.
- meeta, a part of the audience
- Violence: Lots
- Language: Lots of cursing
- Nudity & Sexual content: Making out and kissing scenes
- Concept: a few days in the lives of a few people from the underworld and how it effects a few bystanders
- General Look and Feel: Dark. Literally
Ye Saali Zindagi - Movie Details
- Official Sites: Website Facebook Wikipedia IMDB
- Banner: Cine Raas Entertainment Pvt Ltd
- Producer: Prakash Jha
- Director: Sudhir Mishra
- Lead Cast: Irrfan Khan, Arunoday Singh, Chitrangda Singh
- Supporting Cast: Aditi Rao, Saurabh Shukhla, Sushant Singh, Yashpal Sharma, Prashant Narayanan, Vipin Sharma, Vipul Gupta
- Story: Sudhir Mishra
- Screenplay: Sudhir Mishra
- Dialogues: Manu Rishi, Sudhir Mishra, Manu Rishi
- Cinematography: Sachin Krishn
- Background Score: Rajeev Kalbaug, Nishat Khan
- Music Director: Nishant Singh
- Lyrics: Swananda Kirkire
- Costume Designer: Aarti Patkar
- Facebook Page: Link
- Running time: 120 minutes
- Reviewer: meeta
- Language: Hindi
- Genres: Crime
Ye Saali Zindagi - Trailer
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