Cast: Narendra Jha, Urmila Mahanta, Annapurna Vithal, Badrul Islam, Monica Ravan
Director: Zia Ullah Khan
Rating: * *
Zia Ullah Khan uses the Cheeni Kum construct of a May-December love affair with some intrigue thrown in, to plot the course of this romance that hopes to be meaningful by the end of its provocative and confounding journey.
Using a studied palette, he guides us through the lonely and vulnerable life of an ageing widower businessman Abhiraj Malhotra (Narendra Jha) who is seeking to fulfil his departed wife’s last wish of building a multi-speciality hospital in Dehradun. Khan hopes to make us believe in Abhiraj’s chance encounter with a young, seemingly destitute runaway woman Mahtun (Urmila Mahanta) from Purulia, Orissa, who Abhiraj promptly hires as his servant. And thereafter it’s the expected rigmarole. Someone who claims to be destitute suddenly appears to have a variety of expensive seductive clothes to tempt the master into bedding her. While he feels guilty about it she wants their relationship to be out in the open.
Don’t know where his brains were but conveniently enough, he begins to give in to her wishes and decides to marry her. And then the twist that we saw coming a mile off, happens. This is a predictable, boring and incredibly stupid tale and it’s presented in such an artless and unsatisfying manner that you are left irritated and distended.
The dialogues are simply atrocious. What might have passed muster 20-30 years ago is being re-served in a modern-day context and it feels distinctly unpleasant. The song breaks and the Natak-baazi are imminently forgettable. Dehradun and the glimpses of Mussourie and Hrishikesh are enchanting but it can do little to uplift this decadent narrative.
The title suggests ‘the end of a journey’ but it too un-relatable and is by no means a fulfilling one. The performances are not bad, but they aren’t effective either – because of the terrible scripting and characterisations by Abdullah Khan. Narendra Jha is certainly talented but he needs to pick and choose his roles if he wants to reach any great heights as an actor. This may be yet another starring role for him, but it doesn’t do anything positive for his image.