BHRAM is a film directed by Pavan Kaul. For those who aren't aware, Pavan Kaul has been in the business of making films for the past three decades, whether it be ad-films, video-films, TV serials, or feature films. Son of Surendra Kaul, revered writer of Namak Halal, Kaul comes from a strong lineage of film personalities. His past feature include Chor Aur Chand, Jaadu, and Sssshhh.... BHRAM stars Dino Morea, Milind Soman, Simone Singh, Sheetal Menon, and Chetan Hansraj.
Considering the film belongs to the suspense genre, it has a relatively simple plot, told in a very complicated manner. It seemed the perfect family: Big Brother and Business Tycoon Dev Rawal (Milind Soman), happy-go-lucky and loving wife Vini (Simone Singh), and little brother Shantanu Rawal (Dino Morea). In walks Antara Tyagi (Sheetal Menon) into Shantanu's life. Although Shantanu is immediately attracted to her, Antara remains stand-offish. However, with time, the two fall in love and decide to get married. But it was the fateful first meeting between Antara and big brother Dev that proved to be a shocking one. The events that unfold throw the seemingly perfect family into a tornado of deception, accusation, and mystery...
The major flaw with BHRAM is its writing. This comes as a surprise since the film has been written by Bhavani Iyer, who held a beautiful pen in Bhansali's 2005 masterpiece, BLACK. In Bhram however, Iyer decides to write parallel scripts of past and present, that progress together. Initially, this serves as an obtrusive tactic, resulting in confusion and disorientation from the perspective of the viewer. To add to the complications, the narrative begins in the future. While writing such a suspenseful film, it's safe to begin from the beginning so the viewers are able to connect with the proceedings - and therefore thoroughly enjoy the story.
Dialogues are another setback (at times atrocious). Just check out the first scene of the film and you'll know what I mean. Not only were the dialogues full of vulgarity and profanity, which I wouldn't mind if they came across naturally, but they lacked power and credibility. CAUTION: Do not let children watch this film. Cinematography is a plus point - highlight would have to be the climactic finale, which looked stunning and was executed suavely by Kaul.
Performances would have to be the film's greatest asset. Dino Morea, as Shantanu, finally gets a role in which he can really sink his teeth into and prove that he's not just another "dumb model." Although improvements in his facial and physical expression can be made, this would have to rank amongst his finer performances. His scenes opposite Milind Soman are a treat to watch. Milind Soman, as Dev Rawal, is another feather in the film's cap. Milind does a worthy job in balancing his family-man nature with his mysterious persona. Once again, he excels in the flashback sequence opposite the character of Namrata.
Sheetal Menon, as Antara Tyagi, does a fair job in portraying the addict model with a shattered past. Menon shows her inconsistency during the overtly emotional sequences, where she clearly over-acts the part. To her credit, Antara Tyagi was the most difficult character to play in the film. Simone Singh, as Vini, excels superbly. The veteran actress puts her best foot forward, as she is able to display a range of emotions: from the playful n' loving banter with brother-in-law Shantanu, to her heated confrontations with husband Dev. She was an absolute treat to watch on screen. The final leg of the supporting cast is Chetan Hansraj, as Prem. He plays the role quite convincingly, and serves as a natural sidekick to the character of Shantanu.
BHRAM had the right idea, but the writing and narration pulled the end-result down. Check it out for the performances if you have nothing better to do on a Sunday afternoon.
Aakash Gandhi is Managing Editor and Senior Writer for Planetbollywood.com. He also freelances for the Asian Variety Show at avstv.com.