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66%
3.34 

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Paheli- who will solve it
Jun 30, 2005 11:37 AM 994 Views
(Updated Jun 30, 2005 11:37 AM)

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The King Khan strikes back and this time with moustache. Last time, he was seen with his hair flowing below nose, though in a special appearance for his lady of adulation Sri Devi in 'Army'.


The maker of films like 'Bhangarwadi', 'Daayra', 'Kairee' and 'Anahat', Amol Palekar, brings SRK back with this not-so-common body trait in Bollywood heroes. The few actors who could succeed with moustaches have been Jackie Shroff, Anil Kapoor and Kamal Hasan in some films.


But, not only Shah Rukh Khan makes this change from his usual screen appeal, he also wears Rajasthani attire to lure his fans at box office who have till date seen him in mushy films and have adored him playing a lover boy as Raj in most of the films.


Raj turns a ghost in 'Paheli' his latest released this Friday. He has been a friend of a ghost in his 'Chamatkar' though starring Naseeruddin Shah (as ghost) and Urmila Matondkar.


Shah Rukh has dared experimenting with his image in the past too with films like 'Asoka' but without success. This time again, it is he who grabs the role of a good-looking ghost on the lines of Casper.


Actor- turned-director Amol Palekar wanted to make this film on his own in the beginning with Shah Rukh, but later he agreed to do this film with SRK as its producer.


Still, there were reports of a mismatch of wavelengths between the two. However, Shah Rukh removed all such things to promote the film, though jokingly he called 'Paheli' an artistic trash in his career! The words uttered in a lighter vein seem to be turning true at box office. Read how it happened.


'Paheli' is a take on the famous story of Rajasthani writer Vijaydan Detha, Dohrijoon. The story was later published in two parts in Hindi as 'Uljhan' and 'Duvidha'. It was more than three decades back that noted director Mani Kaul decided to make a film on this story.


Now, Amol Palekar who won hearts of millions as an actor in the past with his boy next-door image in 'Chitchor', 'Rajnigandha', 'Golmaal' and others, has directed it. Palekar had earned laurels for his last films 'Daayara' and 'Anahat'.


But, 'Paheli' is the bet that neither he played earlier nor would he be able to play in future. First, it was 'Parineeta' and now 'Paheli' that have brought back literature on the silver screen.


'Paheli' (The Riddle) is actually a question posed to a beautiful but homely girl Lachhi (Rani Mukherjee). She is married to an impressive hunk (Shah Rukh Khan). While traveling to her-in-law's house, good-hearted ghost (Shah Rukh Khan in double role, last time he did a double in Mahesh Bhatt's 'Duplicate') gets enticed with the beauty and persona of this lovely girl.


He follows her to her new home. Lachhi meets her sister- in- law (Juhi Chawla) who is living alone after her husband (Suniel Shetty) left home for good fortune.


The 'heritage' of leaving newly wed brides at home haunts Lachchi too when her husband also leaves for town to earn money. Back home, the ghost appears in front of the newly wed bride and she thinks of him as her husband.


A relation develops between the two. A native of the same village visits the town in the meantime, and there he notices the original man. A 'Paheli' sets in front of all the characters of the story once this villager comes back.


When the husband returns home, not only he, but also villagers and relatives are astonished to see two persons of the same identity. The dilemma for the bride is more painful as she has to choose between her original husband and the ghost who has over the time not only won her soul but has also started liking her.


The film ends with all characters coming one after another with solutions for this 'Paheli'. However, Amol Palekar tries to be different once again from the stereotype climax.


Loaded with none other than Shah Rukh Khan and Rani Mukherjee, the ruling duo of the box office, 'Paheli' has enormous crowd pulling power for the opening weekend. The star cast loses its magic once you are in the darkness of cinema hall.


Amol Palekar as a director and Shah Rukh Khan as a producer have assembled some of the best technicians. First, help for Amol Palekar comes from Ravi K Chandran whose cinematography is excellent.


He captures sand dunes of Rajasthan like never before. The color combinations and set designings are the other favorable aspects of 'Paheli'.


Muneesh Sappal's art direction competes with the likes of veteran Nitin Chadrakant Desai. Not to forget the cool buddy of Shah Rukh Khan, Farah, who directed him in her own film 'Main Hoon Na'.


As a choreographer, Farah scores 10 out of 10 marks for creating steps that are akin to the film. Gulzar too has come out of hiatus and delivered some very good lyrics, equally matched by music director M. M. Kreem. In fact, Kreem has delivered his best music till date for 'Paheli'.


But, despite all this, the bottom line is that the fans of Shah Rukh Khan may not like him in this experimental film. He doesn't look at ease in the role of a villager in 'Paheli', his image of a metro s-e-x-u-a-l man haunts all over the film.


It will be hard for his diehard fans to digest this performance that is poles apart from films like 'Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge', 'Kuchh Kuchh Hota Hai', 'Kal Ho Na Ho' or 'Veer Zara'.


Rani Mukherjee excels once again in a very challenging role. She has tried her best to carry on in the film with her role. Senior artistes do not have much to talk about. Amitabh Bachchan in a free-of-cost role doesn't boost the film at box office.


'Paheli' may find some response in multiplexes where there is a growing patronage for experimental films.


but in small centers and in metros even, Shah Rukh's loyal audience will find it tough to sit all through this 'artistic trash', as confessed by SRK.


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