Via Darjeeling poster

Via Darjeeling

wogma rating: Watch but no rush (?) - 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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Director: Arindam Nandy
Running time: 104 minutes
Genres: Suspense
More Movie Info

Via Darjeeling - Preview

NOT A REVIEW - Just excited about seeing this assembly of talent on screen together.

Kay Kay Menon, Vinay Pathak, and Rajat Kapoor! Just these names make me want to watch the movie right now! Add to the medley Sandhya Mridul and Sonali Kulkarni. I know, these women don’t necessarily have only good projects associated with their names, but nevertheless, we know they can act well if given a chance.

If that were not enough, the promos look interesting and the passion with which it was made is promising. In the director, Arindam Nandy's words from his post on Passion For Cinema

And the process began…of writing and re-writing…all on holidays and after my Calcutta advertising agency office hours late in the night. It seemed like a malaise that was haunting me every moment.

I am sure, all movies, good, bad or evil go through this process and all directors have a deep passion towards their product. But, not all engage the audience. This one looks like it has its ingredients right. Whether it tastes good too, we'll know soon enough. Right now, my motto is -

"clean slate, clean slate, clean slate....neutral expecataions, neutral expectations, neutral expectaions"

- meeta, a part of the audience

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

16 reviewers(?) - 1 yays 6 so-so 9 nays

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

Thumbs up, by Bikas Mishra, DearCinema : ...director does fall into the trap of being burdened by the expectation of resolving the story and goes for a rather predictable ending.... full review

So-So, by Martin D'souza, : ...Kudos to Arindam for depicting the drinking session superbly.... full review

So-So, by Gaurav Malani, indiatimes : ...the narration also fervently reminds of the closed-room-conversation from 12 Angry Men (remade in Hindi as Ek Ruka Hau Faisla )... full review

So-So, Movie Talkies : ...What makes the film truly absorbing is the brilliant performances by Kay Kay, Vinay and Sonali, the three main protagonists.... full review

So-So, by Hanumant Bhansali, Radio Sargam : ...However good the performances remain, the end of the story is that Via Darjeeling works for a very small audience... full review

So-So, by Raja Sen, Rediff : ...t's a pretty neat premise -- in theory.... full review

So-So, by Nikhat Kazmi, Times of India : ...Here's an experimental film that needed some more time in the petri dish.... full review

Thumbs down, by Fatema H Kagalwala, Business of Cinema : ...The best of the lot are the inimitable Vinay Pathak and the explosive Prroshant Narayannan.... full review

Thumbs down, by Deep, Deep's Home : ...Vinay Pathak, well, he was good but I am not sure why did he act in this movie?... full review

Thumbs down, by Khalid Mohamed, Hindustan Times : ...The main snag with Via Darjeeling is that the various stories just don’t mesh together... full review

Thumbs down, by Rajeev Masand, IBN Live : ...Their stories, in fact, tend to lack imagination... full review

Thumbs down, by Taran Adarsh, IndiaFM : ...Director Arindam Nandy's choice of the subject may not hold universal appeal, but it does hold your attention at times.... full review

Thumbs down, by Mayank Shekhar, NDTV : ...The fundamental thing about a story that involves you is that you're first involved with the characters.... full review

Thumbs down, by Sonia Chopra, Sify Movies : ...The concept reminds one of the works of most film students, so heavily impressed by their own ideas and influenced by masters... full review

Thumbs down, by Kavita Ogale, Times Now : ...we are put through an uninteresting dissection at the hands of an equally uninteresting bunch of pretentious friends who talk & talk & talk without consequence.... full review

Twitter reviews for this movie are not available.

1 readers - 0 yays 1 so-so 0 nays

Not Interested in Watching, by garcinia cambogia

Not Interested in Watching, by garcinia cambogia fat loss

Want to Watch, by Maison Montpellier

So-So, by Consumer Goods

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

Plot Summary

A police inspector (Vinay Pathak) is investigating a case of a man gone missing (Kay Kay Menon) as reported by his wife (Sonali Kulkarni). He happens to narrate this case ia group of friends (Rajat Kapoor, Simone Singh, Sandhya Mridul, Prrosshant Narayanan). The conversation takes a few turns.

What Worked

  • The opening shot inside the car, hand held video camera effect was good and very well edited.

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

If everything is a figment of someone's imagination, you cannot really comment on things being off. Anything is possible in imagination...

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 - Cast, crew, links

Background Score:
Music Director:
Art Direction:
Running time:
104 minutes

Comments (5)

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hmmm..."assessing single incident with different point of views" 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....

// 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 !

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.


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