A Dry Spell

Shadaab Mirza
Writer - Director

Film Review
Barkhaa:Dry Spell

A Dry Spell

In how many ways can you tell the same story of a prince falling in love with a nautch girl? Barkhaa tries to become the umpteenth film.

A young rich guy Jatin (Taaha Shah) falls in love with an innocent looking girl Barkhaa (Sara Loren) who turns out to be a bar girl. The guy still wants to give her a respectable life, but she is already once bitten twice shy. Jatin manages to convince his parents somehow, but Barkhaa disappears. He finds her out four years later.

This seems like a story that could have been a very heart-wrenching tale but fails to be one. The reasons are plenty. The first reason as usual is the screenplay (By Writer-Director Shadaab Mirza), which tries to be innovative with the narrative by cutting into time/space but isn’t tight enough to intrigue. Several scenes could have been done away with. And several scenes could have been shorter. Scenes commenting on why a dance bar shouldn’t be banned tend to get preachy. Dialogues are good at some place but not good enough to be remembered. Plot-wise, there are some loose ends. Like, why didn’t Barkhaa go back to the bungalow where she was staying, after the police raid?

One of the biggest flaws of the film is its performances. The lead actors Taha Shah and Sara Loren try too hard to act. Priyanshu Chatterjee is passable. In fact, one of the finest performances comes from Ashish Roy who plays Anna- the Bar Owner and Shweta Pandit, who’s the heroine’s best friend. Rest all are either wasted or are non-actors. Director Shadaab Mirza tries his best to keep it real and does not romanticize the life of a bar dancer. The sets are real and bar dancers are not glamorized or caricatured. With better actors and better screenplay, the director could have made a better film.

Attempt to portray 'Barkhaa' as an adult film seems a bit desperate. It has all the ingredients to be a social drama but right from posters to trailers to the item song that has been used in the promos, all point to a sleaze fest which could have been avoided. The song that comes just after Barkhaa has told her story to Jatin shows Barkhaa sleeping with Jatin. This appears just as a titillation because actually Jatin’s aim is to give Barkhaa a respectable life? The scene where Jatin’s father (played by Punit Issar) tells his love story to his son, he says that he asked the love of his life – Kya tum mere ghar ki izzat banogi? This is unnecessary foreboding towards the story to come where the girl Jatin will fall for would not be good enough to become his “ghar ki izzat”. Such clichéd treatments further hamper the film from becoming something if not a good meaningful cinema.

All said and done, Barkhaa turns out to be film which family audiences would not want to watch because of the promos and those who will go seeking what they have seen in the trailers will be terribly disappointed. Rain makes everything beautiful but this Barkhaa leaves you dry.

Rating: 1.5/5

   S Manasvi

S Manasvi is a Direction Passout from FTII Pune. Besides Writer-Director of the Film Love U Mr Kalakaar (Rajashree Productions), he also has several TV shows to his credit..

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