Parinda marked Vidhu Vinod Chopra┬┤s entry into mainstream commercial Hindi cinema. Looking at the present scenario of Hindi films, there are only a handful of directors who can combine technique, form, crisp storytelling, and an exciting cast to deliver an entertaining yet intense film, and Vidhu Vinod Chopra proves that he belongs in that list with this film. Chopra has chosen to taken on the often-repeated subject (at least nowadays) of the Mumbai underworld. However, the difference lies in the fact that he chooses to blend the raw intensity of the backdrop with the emotional front of the main protagonists. And he scores, mainly by not getting melodramatic with the emotional scenes and keeping the story moving ahead at a steady pace.
The story revolves around two brothers, Kishen (Jackie Shroff) and Karan (Anil Kapoor), who have spent their childhood growing up alone on the streets of Mumbai. In order for Karan to have a better upbringing and education, Kishen
joins Anna Seth (Nana Patekar). Anna owns an oil factory, but that┬┤s a mere prop to cover up his dealings within the underworld. Karan is unaware of the fact that his brother is working for a gang. Inspector Prakash (Anupam Kher),
Karan┬┤s best friend, is aware of Anna┬┤s gang activities and wants to bring him to justice. Anna knows that Karan and Prakash are best friends, so he sets up the murder of Prakash when Prakash and Karan are supposed to meet after Karan┬┤s arrival from America. Karan is devastated with the happenings, and is even more shocked to learn that his brother Kishen is a gangster, and that too working for Anna, the man responsible for Prakash┬┤s murder. What follows is a gripping tale, filled with twists one after another, which ultimately lead to a nail biting and memorable climax.
The film┬┤s true "heroes" are the technical crew and the captain, Vidhu Vinod Chopra. Binod Pradhan┬┤s cinematography is probably the best in comparison to other films released around that time. He┬┤s very successful in creating a mood that is necessary for a gripping drama, and which is also able to draw the viewer into the film. The background score is also praiseworthy - surprisingly so - mostly because Hindi films before the mid-1990┬┤s lagged drastically in this department. The sets (Bijon Das Gupta) of Anna┬┤s factory are very memorable, mainly due to the fact that quite a few memorable scenes also take place there. Renu Saluja┬┤s editing for this film, remains her best work till date, she fetched a National Award for effort. Chopra┬┤s biggest achievement in the film is that he┬┤s able to combine technical finesse with a focused and gripping narrative along with some fabulous performances from his cast.
Anil Kapoor plays his role with conviction, and his biggest achievement is displaying the vulnerability of his character so perfectly. Jackie Shroff delivers probably one of his best performances with this film, which also won him is first Best Actor award. Anupam Kher, Suresh Oberoi, and Tom Alter do well in their brief roles. Madhuri Dixit, the only female character in the film, has a small role as Paro (Karan┬┤s love interest and Prakash┬┤s sister) yet still does well in the few scenes she has. However, the most interesting character in the film was Anna, and Nana Patekar fitted into the role like a glove. Nana delivers one of his best performances in this film as the fire-phobic gang leader. He┬┤s extremely successful in blending the two diametric characteristics of Anna, intensity and insanity.
The film also consists of quite a few memorable sequences. The first one that will probably pop into anyone┬┤s mind who┬┤s seen the film is the climax. Anupam Kher┬┤s murder is also shot well, and Chopra┬┤s touch of symbolism is present in the hordes of pigeons flying around. R. D. Burman also gave a memorable composition, "Tum Se Mil Ke", rendered nicely by Asha Bhosle and Suresh Wadkar. However, the songs do pose as a hindrance in the narrative. Even though there are only four songs in the film, the film could┬┤ve done without any of them. The "shaadi" song between Anil and Jackie towards the pre-climax is not necessary at all. However, given the commercial pressures directors at the time (and even today) were put under, it┬┤s not a big flaw.
Parinda is a gripping drama, which is also emotional at the same time, and will always be remembered as one of the best films made in its genre.