‘David’ is Bejoy Nambiar’s second directorial venture coming to us after the moderately well received debut ‘Shaitan.’ It’s basically about three losers who lose their way, plagued as they are by an angst that is not quite consistent or concerted. It’s a dark tragedy of sorts without the emotional emphasis required to lure the audiences into purchase. The script is definitely lacking in emotional intelligence but the technique is not. It’s high-end film-making which tragically doesn’t amount to an all-out integrated involvement.
Three men all named David are the central characters in this film. Their life stories are different, they come from middle-class families and hope to rise above their station but eventually fall short. The story revolves around the lives in three different parts of the world in three different eras.
2012: 40 year old David (Vikram) and Peter are two fishermen from Goa who are best of friends and getting drunk and violent is their favourite past-time. Roma (Isha Shravani) a deaf and mute girl comes into their lives and while Peter moves swiftly and gets engaged to her, David is left yearning for a chance to win her over. His guide in matters of heart and love is Freny (Tabu), a woman who runs an illegal massage parlour.
1975: The second, a 30 year old David (Neil Nitin Mukesh) is a gangster in London, henchman to the feared international terrorist Iqbal Ghani (Ram Kapoor). David is in a relationship with Noor (Monica Dogra) Iqbal Ghani’s daughter from his first wife while Ghani’s son Jehan (Neil Bhoopalam) is a junkie who fails to match up to his father’s expectations and may have to lose the empire of corruption and dread that his father so lovingly built-up.
1999: The third David (Vinay Virmani) is a 19 year old, an irresponsible happy-go-lucky wannabe musician who loses his blinkers when his family consisting of two sisters and a widower father who is a Pastor, gets dragged into a political issue.
The three separate stories play out going back and forth from past to present and finally achieving a completion of sorts when all the three men end up losing what they priced the most in their lives. Unfortunately it’s not something we can commiserate with or feel empathy for. The calculated plotting, the technical refinement, stunning cameos by some of the better known actors and beautifully moderated performances of the entire cast can do little to increase involvement.
There exists a certain engaging tension but it’s not fraught with suspense or intrigue. The surprises also raise more questions than answer the riddles in the script. Clarity of purpose is what’s majorly missing in the narration here. As viewers we are in the grip of what transpires on screen but we never get to understand the reasons for the portrayal of fringe characters who treat fellow human beings (especially women) so abominably. Neither is our curiosity roused. Nambiar builds it all up interestingly but it all leads up to nothing significant or momentous.
The emphasis here is on technique and not on audience involvement and that is where helmer Bejoy Nambiar fails once again. The stories of the three protagonists in his film who are diverse in all spheres- their situations, their dilemmas, their miseries and their destinies- have little connect with each other, but for the fact that they end up as losers. The camerawork by R Rathnavelu, PS Vinod and Sanu Verghese, is quite intriguing and the editing by A Sreekar Prasad is also definitive but the script is what is devoid of clear-cut purpose. So here’s yet another film that ends up being more of an ego trip than an audience pleaser!