So I finally had the opportunity to catch Onir's latest film, Sorry Bhai! Although Bas Ek Pal (2006) was a disappointment after a masterpiece like My Brother...Nikhil (2005), my expectations were never lowered for Sorry Bhai! And rightfully so. The film is a touching tale with a refreshingly new angle on the usual triangular romance.
I’m not one to divulge much of a film’s plotline in my reviews. It’s suffice to know that Sorry Bhai! is about a younger brother who falls helplessly in love with his elder brother’s fiancé, and vice-versa.
Onir's brilliant execution is poetically expressed in every breath-taking frame, courtesy Sachin Kumar's sultry portraits of Mauritius. His job was made easy by way of Ashwini Malik's gripping screenplay and dialogue. 99% of films throw out dialogue that are rudimentary filmy in nature. However, while listening to the characters speak, I truly felt as if I was watching a literal slice of life.
Malik's vivid script objectively captures the deeply conflicting emotions of each character so beautifully that, as a viewer, you are unable, or unwilling, to lean towards a single side. A good writer always invokes rare thought. This is exactly what Malik has achieved by creating an emotionally entertaining film, all the while posing social, family, and inter-personal concerns.
With regards to the screenplay, I personally enjoyed Malik's structural creativity. Although the setting unfolds primarily in the past, Malik's clever penning of the introductory present deserves praise. Despite only taking up roughly five to ten minutes of the opening screen time, it adds a welcomed touch of suspense that lingers throughout the entire film. Kudos Ashwini Malik! You're a major reason behind the immense critical success of Sorry Bhai!
The single flaw I found in Ashwini’s writing, however, is behind the reasoning of Gayatri, the mother. Her sudden personality splits would otherwise leave you wondering “…but how?” But as father Navin (Boman Irani) always says, “why do you always get caught up in the details yaar?”
Musically, Sorry Bhai! gives Onir his unprecedented hat trick! After Vivek Philip enchanted us with the stunning OST of My Brother…Nikhil, Bas Ek Pal followed it up with another masterful OST courtesy Mithoon and Vivek Philip. This time, it is Gaurav Dayal’s silky smooth score that unobtrusively permeates the screenplay. Vivek Philip appears as guest composer for the title track.
As with any Onir film, performances are expected to be nothing short of spectacular. Sanjay Suri, playing the character of Harshwardhan, puts forth a very balanced performance. Portraying the multi-faceted role is by no means a cakewalk. He’s an estranged son and a stressed businessman who is in a confusing relationship. Nevertheless, Suri surreptitiously becomes Harsh with ease and strength. However, unlike his previous two Onir films (My Brother…Nikhil & Bas Ek Pal), he takes one step back as he is relegated to supporting Sharman Joshi.
Sharman Joshi, playing the character of Siddharth, once again shows us his immense versatility as a young actor. Siddharth is arguably the most complex character Sharman has encountered in his budding career. If you thought Suri’s performance was well-balanced, then you’ll be overwhelmed by Joshi’s tamed blend of primeval attraction and social responsibility. It seems like Sharman is coming of age in every film he does!
Chitrangda Singh, playing the character of Aaliyah, is the straw that stirs the drink. An extremely talented actress since the early days of Hazaaron Khwahishen Aisi (2005), her character is no walk in the park either. Aaliyah is an emotionally torn woman. Singh’s portrayal of Aaliya’s perplexities plays off of the other two male leads with a high level of chemistry. They create a very compatible threesome on screen. Not to mention…she looks absolutely gorgeous!
Providing further support are Boman Irani and Shabana Azmi, as the parents. Two extreme characters combined create an equivocal relationship. Irani provides ample comedic and stress relief, while Azmi plays the dominating mother/mother-in-law role with utmost passion and realism. On the whole, they both pack a powerful punch alongside the lead trio.
Sorry Bhai! Is a film that everyone should watch. It’s healthy for Indian Film-goers to take a break from the regular spices of conventional Bollywood entertainment and spend a couple hours exploring a unique story, told in a very unique way. With a synergistic blend of family drama, emotional romance, and unforced rib-tickling humor, SORRY BHAI! truly is a potpourri of colors and fragrances. Congratulations to Onir, Sanjay Suri, and the entire crew of Sorry Bhai! for lending us one of the year’s best pieces of cinema.