Obsessed with Beauty

Last night, at the end of a really long and exhausting day, I wound up going for a movie – Fitoor. It was supposed to be a ladies’ night out at the movies, but one lady dropped out, another lady got a call when we were half-way to the movie theatre that her little son, whom she had tucked into bed and was sound asleep before leaving, had woken up and was puking. So the taxi-driver (taxis have certainly made our lives so much easier!) obligingly turned around, came all the way back, we dropped her off, and then it was just the three of us at the movie.

Oh dear! We couldn’t keep quiet once the movie began. Post-interval, we were even shushed! Not the kind of audience one wants to watch a romantic movie with on Valentine’s eve. But the movie was just begging to be remarked upon, and we three cranky old ladies (I hope the term isn’t offensive to my companions!) were too glad to oblige.

First the positives. The movie is a beauty quite literally. The absolutely gorgeous shots of snow and icicles, red leaves and wooden bridges, eerie mansions and ornate furniture, modern museums and luxury hotels…all lovingly, aesthetically, and beautifully framed. An ode to physical beauty as well, the camera lingers over Aditya’s sculpted body and Katrina’s porcelain profile. Truly a work of love.

But then, that’s it. The script and acting, I’m sorry to say, just doesn’t match up to the level at which the movie aims. Aditya wears a look of constant pressure, as if he really needs a good dose of laxatives to ease up. Katrina is as blank as the sheet of one facing a writer’s block. Tabu just wings her way through the scenes, knowing she will be the best actor of the movie even if she does so. I really wanted to feel the emotion, get swept away by the sheer intensity of love, but unfortunately, I kept getting snared into “This part of the movie sponsored by Bata/Borges Olive Oil/Asian Paints…”, if you get what I mean.

I wouldn’t like to use the word weak for the script, but everything felt a bit too superficial. Even at the end, which departs from the original Great Expectations, the magic just didn’t work for me. What a powerful scene that could have been! Just like when they were young, and Noor ran to Firdaus abandoning his sister’s funeral, Firdaus runs to him abandoning her mother’s funeral. What poetic brilliance that is on paper, but sadly, it lacked that brilliance on screen.

I wonder how this would have worked in the hands of really competent actors. Bajirao Mastani worked because of this combination. The actors did the job competently. Fitoor could have been a brilliant movie, but the acting is its main failing. I give full marks to Abhishek Kapoor to have attempted this grand adaptation, but sorry to say, the final offering falls short of the expectations.

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