Provoked poster

Provoked

wogma rating: The keen should rent; else TV/online (?)

quick review:

Kiranjit Ahluwalia - the lady who fought with destiny and resigned to it at the same time. One of those stories that get lost in the plethora of injustices in the world. A story that desperately needs to be told. Alas, it loses out in execution - despite Aishwarya’s sensitive portrayal of the lady who was wronged. As usual she looks stunning (without makeup at that!).

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Director: Jag Mundhra
Running time: 110 minutes
Genres: Biography, Social
More Movie Info

Provoked - Preview

- meeta, a part of the audience

Provoked certainly brings attention to the plight of women at the hands of psychotic male chauvinists. So, what do you do when you want to get the average movie-goer to watch the sad story of a lady who is physically, emotionally and sexually abused by her husband? Get Aishwarya Rai (Kiranjit Ahluwalia) to be the lady! And she delivers with a performance that is, without any doubt, her best so far.

Naah, by no means is it a flawless performance. Every once in a while Aishwarya does inadvertently slip into ‘oh, I am sorry, I am this gorgeous supermodel made to look like a battered housewife’ mode. But the positives easily outweigh the negatives this time around. And that is one woman who needs no make-up to look stunning! Performance-wise the transformation from an unsure, easily-dominated wife to a confident, inspirational woman was wonderful. Especially note the slouch turn into a confident straight back. The nuances of the complex character were captured well – frustration, anger, hatred, guilt, glimpses of happiness.

What did not work for the movie though, are the gaps in the story. Though the memory-triggered flashbacks were a nice way to narrate the story, they ultimately failed to make an impact. They tried to do with dialogues what needed to be done through story and visuals. Also the shortcomings had a lot to do with the pace, the time allotted to each part of the story. While the first half took its own sweet time in establishing the background, the second half was left to cover a lot of ground (including the abrupt digressions for the side characters’ stories).

The biggest hole of them all was the torture itself that Kiranjit was subjected to. All through the movie you are expecting something gruesome to happen that will shake you from the inside. But it doesn’t happen. And that is you leave the theater moved yet unconvinced - uncertain of what made a plain village girl take such a drastic step. Maybe they did not want to shoo away the audience with the gory details.

But then, if the idea was to keep the audience interested, it desperately needed better dialogues. Especially, the lines given to the beautiful Nandita Das were lousy. Again, the inevitable tussle between dramatize-for-effect and stick-to-reality. Tricky one, indeed.

The only thing other than Aishwarya’s moving performance that makes it worth a watch is the subject itself. This subject needs attention and is certainly more than one woman’s story. But will it make anyone stand up for the cause?

- meeta, a part of the audience

19 reviewers(?) - 8 yays 7 so-so 4 nays

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

Thumbs up, by Sandeep Hattangadi, Bollyvista.com : ...But the real star of the show is Aishwarya Rai in the best role of her career.... full review

Thumbs up, by Sanjay Ram, Business of Cinema : ...The film is unbelievably English, with visible tones of blue, grey, black and yellow... full review

Thumbs up, by Deep, Deep's Home : ...I must say this will be one of the best performances of Aishwarya Rai, simply brilliant... full review

Thumbs up, by Aprajita Anil, Express India : ...It once happened. And now it's been told. And told with great power and precision.... full review

Thumbs up, by Rajeev Masand, IBN Live : ...Provoked wouldn't work if it wasn't for two performances that uplift the film considerably... full review

Thumbs up, by Abhijit Mhamunkar, indya.com : ...He extracts fine natural performances from his principal cast and delivers a technically competent product.... full review

Thumbs up, by Subhash K Jha, SantaBanta.com : ...Full credit to Aishwarya Rai for plunging deep into a part that she plays straight from her heart.... full review

Thumbs up, by Pankaj Shukla, SmasHits.com : ...She slips in the skin of Kiranjeet so easily... full review

So-So, by Rachel Fernandes, Bollywood Mantra : ...film could have been better edited as some of the proceedings make the film drag towards the end... full review

So-So, by GaRaM, Now Running.com : ...Provoked is that kind of a film where you know the end but what still makes you sit till the end is how the film reaches to its end... full review

So-So, by Ashok Nayak, Now Running.com : ...Shot extensively in Johannesburg with the music industry as its backdrop, Shakalaka Boom Boom is young, hip and happening.... full review

So-So, by Hanumant Bhansali, Radio Sargam : ...The film works in bits and pieces but in totality it fails to leave an impact.... full review

So-So, by Sukanya Verma, Rediff : ...director Jag Mundhra is so preoccupied in chronicling the events, he tackles the emotional aspect rather hurriedly... full review

So-So, by Naomi Datta, Times Now : ...Rai does come up with a good performance as the hunted, fragile victim driven round the bend... full review

So-So, by Nikhat Kazmi, Times of India : ...What holds the story back is the narrative style, which depends too heavily on flashbacks and a slightly lethargic pace... full review

Thumbs down, by Aparajita Ghosh, Apun Ka Choice : ...Sadly, the movie doesn’t curdle your blood... full review

Thumbs down, by Martin D'Souza, Glamsham.com : ...Director Jagmohan Mundhra has an ace up his sleeve but fails to deliver it, thanks to the casting which is found wanting... full review

Thumbs down, by Taran Adarsh, IndiaFM : ...What you carry home are flashes, not the film in entirety... full review

Thumbs down, by Sreeram Ramchandran, M TV : ...if you have been wondering whether beating up your wife is a good idea or not, it will solve that confusion... full review

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

Plot Summary

Kiranjit Ahluwalia a woman ill-treated by her husband, snaps after 10 years of marriage. She takes the ultimate step to liberate herself. The story is then about how she finds support at the most unlikely places when she was not willing to help herself.

What Worked

  • In the first few scenes, Aishwarya Rai's eyes are the most expressive of what she is feeling. The cameraman aptly focuses on her eyes a couple of times

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

  • A police officer picks a picture frame at the crime scene without gloves on. Forensics, anyone? This becomes more than a nitty-gritty because it is later claimed that the frame had Kiranjit's finger prints on them.
  • The drama around the surrender of the mangalsutra. It was a bit out of place considering she had just killed her husband.
  • It looked like the couple did share a few happy moments together. Then why does Kiranjit say, "10 years of marriage, not one night of happiness?"
  • No wonder Kiranjit found her freedom in the prison. Look at the life-time supply of make-up that the inmates got.
  • They mention Kiranjit wanting to pursue her education and her husband's willingness. That is left at that. There was no mention of why she did not continue with her studies thereafter.
  • Kiranjit's lawyer submits a letter written by Kiranjeet to her husband as evidence when her husband was staying with his mother. How does the lawyer get hold of this letter when the mother was clearly not helping Kiranjeet?

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.

  • In the interrogation room, the police officer records the time as 10.30 when the clock shows 10.39. And minutes later he records the interrogation as halted at 10.39 when the clock is again 10.39!!
  • Kiranjit is shown to ask about her husband on the day of her wedding. What was the point? If they wanted to show that the couple did not know each other, there were so many other ways to bring that about.
  • It was just weird - the way Ronnie who couldn't be bothered to comb her hair, would get her nail-paint changed every time inside a prison.
  • Did they really allow cameras inside a prison? Radha was clicking away when she takes Kiranjit's kids to visit her.
  • Didn't children need car seats in London in 1989?
  • The beer bottles placed as show pieces in the constable's house - too obvious a way to put across that he is a drunkard.

Provoked - Cast, crew, links

Director:
Lead Cast:
Cinematography:
Background Score:
Music Director:
Costume Designer:
Art Direction:
Running time:
110 minutes
Reviewer:
Language:
Country:
Genres:

Comments (4)

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Thank you Nirmal, for your comments.

Thanks Nirmal! Just the words that made my day!!

Feedback, feedback - 'not really' type? Can you please elaborate?

With readers encouraging me, of course, I will continue with my work.

Hi Nirmal,

Scrolling vs. typing - lol!!

oh wow! 2 out of 90+ is not bad at all...I am going to take that as a compliment!

I don't think 100% match is possible...

oooh Prerna! sizzling...i really love it when people take their movies seriously. Especially when there is a social cause involved. Thanks for taking the time to leave your thoughts here.

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