Darling poster

Darling

wogma rating: Switch channels if it's on cable (?)

quick review:

What can you say about a suspense thriller in which you laugh instead of getting thrilled? A suspense thriller in which the plot barely moves but the camera does all the moving?

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Director: Ram Gopal Varma
Running time: 120 minutes
Genres: Comedy, Romance, Suspense
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Darling - Preview

- meeta, a part of the audience

You know, how sometimes you walk into a movie, but carry a general dislike for one of the actors and are wary of having to watch him/her for the next couple hours. For the first time after a long-long time, I was wary while entering the theatre. Wary not of the actor, not so-much of the director, or the music director either. It was the anticipated giddying camera work that was making me anxious. Who was going to control him given the suspense-thriller genre? And I was not disappointed. Amit Roy does the trick again - of working really hard on what he thinks is cool. The problem is it does not look good at all. The background score too seems like there is a murder-a-minute waiting to happen.

Now, instead of plagiarizing myself, I am going to have you read my complaints, which are the same for this movie, here.

The whole team takes a good share of the blame, because ultimately the director calls the shots and directs the camerawork. Also, what the audience feels has a lot to do with the way the actors are shot. On the other hand, maybe, just maybe if the performances are strong enough they can rise above the other drawbacks. But, none of that happens.

The entire cast does a reasonably mediocre job. Each one of them starts with one expression that suits their character and holds on to it for the rest of the movie. As I mentioned earlier, it is difficult to judge the performances. The extra-dull dialogues didn't help either. The movie was called Darling because Geeta (Esha Deol) wanted to call Aaditya (Fardeen Khan) "Darling" sarcastically every ten mintues. Or may be it was the other way round. The script was far from satisfactory too. If the script does not move forward, how can the actors be expected to change their expressions, you see.

Also, I can't remember another movie in which songs seemed more forced in. Even the item numbers at the beginning and the end seemed to be there to keep people happy. Like a promise to be kept with Nisha Kothari. Or like Isha Koppikar's excessively-clad character needed some breathing space, so "here do an item number, and throw that character-defining sari away". Oh and the crooning, "oooo-oooo-tadap-tadap" sounded so familiar, just can't remember which other movie had a similar tune...it's at the tip of my tongue... Yeah-yeah, I am good at subtle sarcasm.

So, a suspense thriller which makes you laugh instead of making you clench your nails into the seat. A camera that does all the moving on behalf of the plot. I am not left with many insults to fling at the whole team.

- meeta, a part of the audience

19 reviewers(?) - 7 yays 3 so-so 9 nays

Warning: clicking on "full review" will take you to an external website that could contain spoilers.

Thumbs up, B4U TV : ...Fardeen Khan is a revelation and so is Esha Deol.... full review

Thumbs up, Bollyvista.com : ...The characters of Inspector Reddy and his stern faced colleague Malati Pandey are very well etched and well performed.... full review

Thumbs up, by Rachel Fernandes, Bollywood Mantra : ...The script is unusual, screenplay is witty and the film is engaging... full review

Thumbs up, by Taran Adarsh, IndiaFM : ...Although the screenplay is captivating and keeps you hooked to the proceedings, the only time it takes a dip is in the post interval portions.... full review

Thumbs up, by Hanumant Bhansali, Radio Sargam : ...Darling is a horror with ripples of romance, humour and thrill spread over the colourful palette of entertainment... full review

Thumbs up, by Satyajit, SmasHits.com : ...It would have been better for him to have restricted himself to his style of filmmaking rather than trying to plagiarize old-age formulae... full review

So-So, by Aparajita Ghosh, Apun Ka Choice : ...Isha Koppikar is somewhat marginalized but she enacts her part of a middle-class wife with conviction.... full review

So-So, by Anupama Chopra, NDTV : ...Darling isn’t a patch on Ramu’s finest films like Satya and Company but it isn’t Aag either, which I suppose is cause for celebration... full review

So-So, by Ashok Nayak, Now Running.com : ...Amit Roy is excellent with camera... full review

Thumbs down, by Jaspreet Pandohar, BBC : ...TWISTS AND TURNS CAN BE SEEN A MILE OFF... full review

Thumbs down, by Martin D'Souza, Glamsham.com : ...The editing leaves a lot of gaps and the music fails to set the pace.... full review

Thumbs down, by Khalid Mohamed, Hindustan Times : ...I went mad when Fardeen sang Kahin deep jale kahin dil like Waheeda Rehman did... full review

Thumbs down, by Rajeev Masand, IBN Live : ...Director Ramgopal Varma pushes the envelope considerably, but just a little short of what was required here... full review

Thumbs down, by Praveen Lance Fernandes, indiatimes : ...At one moment, you are laughing and then in the next the ghost is crying... full review

Thumbs down, by Amit Kaundinya, J.A.M : ...Only ghosts should watch this flick, as they wouldn’t have to pay for the ticket.... full review

Thumbs down, by Rashmee Desai, M TV : ...Looks like married life is treating you well, huh, Fardeen?... full review

Thumbs down, by Subhash K Jha, Now Running.com : ...She (Esha) brings depth, despair, pathos and humour into her rather hazily-written role... full review

Thumbs down, by Nikhat Kazmi, Times of India : ...Darling's a joke on dead people and drifting ghosts... full review

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This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.

Plot Summary

Aaditya (Fardeen Khan) is cheating on his wife, Ashwini (Isha Koppikar). His affair with his secretary, Geeta (Esha Deol) has to end. Why? How? All for you to sit through.

What Worked

  • The dining table scene - the entire scene is shot from underneath the glass dining table. It’s pretty cool.

What did not

Note: This section simply lists the things that I did not like in this movie. This is not the overall impression about this movie. Please read the full review here

  • The scene where Fardeen Khan is lying on a bed (Mudh Island bungalow). A very unflattering shot is taken at the level of the bed with his feet facing the camera. It was such bad camerawork. Did no one in the editing team think it was bad?
  • Why is the inspector from the crime branch standing outside Aaditya's office when the new secretary walks out?
  • In the new secretary scene - his hands alternate between being under the table and on the table in alternate cuts.
  • The whole psychiatry angle was badly handled.
  • It was really funny how Geeta remembers her parents only when her father shows up on the scene.

Nitty-Gritty

This section lists things that I think are not important to the overall impact of the movie. In most cases, it could be explained away by something like, "we noticed the glitch after the scene was shot and there were schedule/budget issues and thus we could not re-shoot it". I like giving the makers the benefit of doubt, but I am amused nevertheless. Hopefully, they will tickle you too.

  • Why was Geeta sitting half naked in her stilettos at the Mudh Island Bungalow?
  • Looks like Aaditya doesn't need a parking lot at all - be it his office building or in a hospital, he can pretty much park anywhere.
  • Aaditya is reminded by his new secretary that he needs to make a presentation for a meeting with his boss. And he promptly starts dictating a letter!

Darling - Cast, crew, links

Official Sites:
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Dialogues:
Cinematography:
Background Score:
Action Choreography:
Costume Designer:
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Running time:
120 minutes
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Language:
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Review - Darling...

What can you say about a suspense thriller in which you laugh instead of getting thrilled? A suspense thriller in which the plot barely moves but the camera does all the moving?...

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