Planet Bollywood
Yeh Zindagi Ka Safar
 
Producer: Mahesh Bhatt
Director: Tanuja Chandra
Starring: Amisha Patel, Jimmy Shergill, Nafisa Ali, Gulshan Grover
Music: Daboo Malik & Sajid-Wajid
Lyrics: Salim Bijnori, Anwar Sagar, Faaiz Anwar & Nasir Fa
Genre: Emotional
Recommended Audience: General
Approximate Running Time: 2 hrs 55 mins
Film Released on: 16 November 2001
Reviewed by: Rakesh Budhu  - Rating: 6.5 / 10
 
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Public Rating Average: 5.17 / 10 (rated by 400 viewers)
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“It All Started With A Lie”- We’ve Been Lied To!

To begin, quite easily step into Sarena Dewan’s (Amisha Patel) shoes. She’s a twenty year old picture perfect shooting star. A dream life with money, talent and looks comes to a halt when Sarena encounters a newspaper with her face on the cover. Thinking it is another praiseworthy publicity ad for her she is shocked even more when she realizes it is the spark of the beginning of a dismal journey ahead of her. Sarena comes to learn from a news reporter, Jai (Jimmy Shergill) that her rich father, Vivek Dawan (Gulshan Grover) is not her rich father. Jai with no other choice slaps Sarena in the face (figuratively, of course) with supported accusations on her real identity. Sarena enraged confronts Vivek on her identity and shortly after learns that she is indeed, adopted.

The initial parts of the film have a contemporary feel to it. Manoj Gupta’s cinematography has a visually appealing look to it, which is the only positive aspect of the film. Sarena’s encounter with Vivek- Gulshan Grover in a rarely positive light- is a standpoint because of Amisha’s acting. Gulshan Grover’s role stands out more because you’re seeing him in a rarely seen positive light, not because of his portrayal of Vivek Dewan. Sarena comes to learn that her dream life all started out with a lie, and after the first half of the film, we come to learn that we were the only lied to when we were promised a good film. Despite Vivek’s attempts at preventing Sarena to find out about her mother, Jai and Sarena embark on a distasteful safar in search of Sarena’s identity.

“Are You Ready For The Truth?” - You Don’t Want to Know The Truth!

Sarena and Jai obviously develop an affinity towards each other seeing as though Jai is the one that revealed something quite important about Sarena’s life and Sarena’s story is what has given Jai his big break. They encounter sister Namrata (Nafisa Ali) who was her caretaker early on in her life. Incessantly they attempt at breaking down barriers Namrata presents and eventually they do learn that she is “the truth”. Much to her dismay her beautiful life started off in a not so beautiful manner with the help of the unlikely (chuckle) character, Police Prashant Marwah (Ehsaan Khan). So once the truth has been revealed Sarena ends up attempting to wipe out what has been done to Namrata and woman all over (can you say super woman?) While Sarena and Jai embark on the truth of her life and the real world, we are left wondering if they are ready to face the truth, but really wondering, do we really want to know the truth?!

The climax of the film is run of the mill. In fact the film itself is run of the mill. Mahesh Bhatt has some wonderful films under his belt, this, unfortunately, is not one of them. The script is intriguing with a great deal of potential. The dialogues by Girish Dhamjia do more than just serve a purpose, which is another positive aspect of the film. Sister Namrata’s encounters with Sarena and Sarena and her father’s encounters are all plus points for the film. There is just something that went wrong with this product. There are positive aspects,

Daboo Malik’s music being one of them. Yet, you’d think that the songs would help the narrative, as most meaningful films do. From the popping up of “Dil To Kehta Hai” amidst an awkward scene you can tell off the bat, that the songs are poorly placed. In addition, why Malik decided to use Hariharan for the ghazals, “Zamane Mein Sabhi” was already in question (why not Jagjit Singh?), but why Chandra decided to have Shergill’s character actually sing it is even more a ponderous thought! It seemed almost made for background music yet Chandra made the odd (absolutely odd) decision of having Jai vocalize the song. It totally ruined the song as in no way possible would a youthful obviously young character as Jai have such a deep voice. “Nikal Padi” was filled with zestful color but played absolutely no role in the film! (Not every hero has to sing and dance on the streets before they actually do what they have to do in a film). The saving forces are “Ahista Ahista” and “Aye Chand Khoobsurat” which are done justice to with beautiful visualizations. The theme song, “Mai Koun Hun?” is the only song whose lyrics help the narrative, but Jaspinder Narula at her peaks are as negative a factor as everything else.

Chandra’s third inning is a poor mix between her first and second, not at all a step up. Despite the male dependency in Dushman, that film was a splendid debut, something I watch repeatedly for music, acting and an interesting plot. Being blasted the second time around for repeating the female dependency on man, she has toned down Sarena’s willingness to lie on Jai’s shoulders, but not completely. The outcome is not bad, much better than Sangharsh, but not as good as Dushman.

Jimmy Shergill is good in his role that should expand his capabilities as an actor and prove him just as good as any other fresh face we have out there. Yet the real question is regarding our box office queen, Amisha Patel. It’s natural that one would compare her to Kareena Kapoor here. Whether or not her previous box office hits would prove beneficial here was the real question on everyone’s mind. Especially considering that both of her super hits have made more money than all of Kareena’s films combined. Amisha shows us why she is so popular, and why she is as good as any Kapoor combined. She handles the emotional scenes with clear talent and her baby face allows the audience to click with her—at times. She’s not enough to call this film a winner though, nor will her apt performance win her much acclaim in the long run. This journey, while not bad, isn’t much of a worthwhile one either. Sarena’s life started off with a lie and the film’s promotions lied to us in making us believe this would have been an awesome venture. As she embarks on her journey through life wondering if what she encounters, “the truth”, would be a faceable fate, we wonder if we actually wanted to find out the truth in the first place, at least I did.

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