Sometimes you just can't remember all the movies you want when you head to the store, or they just don't have it through the online rental service you use. When that happens, all I can say is thank goodness for youTube, which is where I finally got to see Parineeta - a film I was told housed a smouldering chemistry between heartthrob fav Saifu and beauty Vidya Balan. And I was not disappointed.

Directed by newcomer Pradeep Sarkar, Parineeta is a very simple love story set amidst 1960's Calcutta. Shekhar (Saif) and Lolita (Vidya) meet as children, he the son of a wealthy and driven businessman, she an orphan taken in by a loving neighbor family. They become fast friends and we watch their unspoken love blossom until Lolita discovers Shekhar's father's plans to usurp her family home out from underneath them. Enter Girish (Sanjay Dutt), to further complicate the situation by helping out the family with their financial desperation as well as providing the chink in the lovebird's armour.

After my last review for Mission: Kashmir, bollywviewer made a comment about how she liked that the characters were grey instead of entirely black and white. I think that this is the case for sure in Parineeta. Shekhar is a character that starts out content and casual, happy to be making music and living his life day to day as he's always known it - with Lolita always present. When their situation changes, we see a different side of Shekhar emerge, one that's full of anger, jealousy and cruelty. Even Girish, who is by all definitions a gentlemen, ultimately has ulterior motives with his bail out. All of this is what makes the characters interesting and human, and not knowing if all will work out in the end for our heroes is what keeps us engaged.

Sarkar could not have asked for a better cast in his debutante film. Up until now, Kal Ho Na Ho has been my favorite Saif movie, but instead of the boyish charm he exhibited in that one, he gives us nothing short of a powerfully complex performance in this one. He is able to emit a very diverse range of emotion, and does it all with finesse. Plus, there's no facial hair, no bandanas and no sunglasses. Now this is the Saif I met and fell in love with!

For Vidya's first movie, you can already tell that she's going to be a star. Not only is she is gorgeous, but she brings out the nuances and contradictions of her character in every scene and she does it with ease. It was a much meatier role than I've seen her so far, and, though her beauty has always left an impression on me, I think I was most impressed with her range in this film (even more so than Bhool Bhulaiyaa, which I just saw and enjoyed her in).

It was interesting seeing Sanjay in this film. Not only did I just watch him in Mission:Kashmir in which he had a very serious role, but I've been witness to the Dutt/Balan pairing in the very funny and charming Lage Raho Munnabhai. In this film he plays the role of Girish with sincerety and a maturity completely in line with his character. It's difficult to not want to root for him to win the girl in the end.

Visually, the movie is beautiful to watch and cinematographer N. Nataraja Subramanian has given us a movie that looks and feels like it belongs in the 60's. Musically, I needed to revisit the songs to refresh them in my memory before discussing them. One note: regarding filmi songs, I have to say something I'm sure I've said before. I think it is so important to have the right playback singer represent the right actor. What I mean is that you need to believe that Saif is singing, even though you know he's not, therefore the voice that seemingly comes out of his mouth must be believable. I think Sonu, while completely perfect on his own, is also a perfect match for Saif.

After completing a second listen to all the film's songs, I've decided that Shantana Moitra has created a classic soundtrack chalk full of beautiful melodies enhanced with wonderful singing. Piyu Bole is a sweet song, perfect in context and easy to listen to. Kasto Mazza, which made the list of fav train songs at Darshit's blog, is upbeat and an excellent addition to the "on top of the world" feeling that Shekhar is experiencing. We also get to see a stunningly beautiful Rekha in the jazzy throwback number Kaise Paheli Zindagani, which is a complete departure from the sound of the rest of the film, but still fun.

Parineeta is a beautiful and heart wrenching film that is an absolute must see, especially for those Saifu fans! Thanks everyone who recommended it to me.

9 Response to "Parineeta"

  1. Jules says:
    December 27, 2009 at 3:23 PM

    Sounds amazing!!! I want to see it, need to see it... do you have the youtube link saved so you can forward it to me in an email?

  2. Shellie says:
    December 27, 2009 at 4:22 PM

    Nope, but I just did a search on youTube and it came up with it right away. It was one of the first ones. If you get to see it over there, let me know what you thought.

  3. Tady Rox! says:
    December 27, 2009 at 10:58 PM

    I LOVED this film...Saif + Vidya need to make more films together...but this will probably not happen anytime soon because of *cough* Bebo *cough*

  4. Shellie says:
    December 28, 2009 at 7:53 AM

    lol! I really liked their pairing too. Not a jodi I would have thought to put together, but they have great chemistry. Bebo's got those reigns tight on her man, hey!

  5. Filmbuff Says:
    December 29, 2009 at 5:32 PM

    I am glad you finally saw this movie I have been recommending for a long time. I don't know about the quality of viewing on Youtube though. When ever I try to open a clip of a song or a short video on Ytube - it stops after some time and we have to play it all over again.

    I wish you can get access to a proper DVD of this movie which is truly worth owning and watching again.

    BTW, I saw an awesome tralier (preview) of MNIK last night while watching 3 Idiots on the big screen). Good marketing technique by KJO to woo audiences to his movie

    Happy New Year 2010

  6. Shellie says:
    December 29, 2009 at 8:11 PM

    Actually, the quality was really good. I didn't have any buffering problems at all. The only thing that's annoying is when you have to go from part 1 to part 2, etc and get that break in between that can ruin the flow, but at least I got to see it. I may watch more movies this way, ones I can't get.
    I'm going to go to 3 Idiots on Jan 9th (have to travel to the city), as long as it's still playing then, so I'll look forward to seeing the preview. I'm glad you liked it. Hopefully it will bring in the masses!
    Happy New Year back at ya!

  7. Anonymous Says:
    December 30, 2009 at 8:27 AM

    One of my favorite films of 2005. Love the Saif and Vidya paring and I love how Sanjay plays this role, I'm not always a fan of Sanjay I think he is over the top in most roles but I love how quiet and refined he is in this film.
    Also Shell if I could I would recommend a site for you, she has reviews of some wonderful older Bollywood fare and I've found her very helpful. She also has a link to another sight she writes on Shabana Azmi that is quite good.

  8. San says:
    December 30, 2009 at 8:35 AM

    It was a beautiful film. Vidya suits roles like this, almost as though she was born to the wrong era of movies

  9. Shellie says:
    December 30, 2009 at 12:00 PM

    lvrplfc4l - I have visited filmigeek a few times, but not extensively. It seems like classic Bollywood is what most people blog about, so there's lots out there, but thanks for reminding me about her.

    San - I can totally see that. Big majestic roles seem to be perfect for her and much better than some of the other stuff I've seen her in.