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The Naked Truth
Sep 17, 2005 01:21 AM 3519 Views
(Updated Sep 17, 2005 01:21 AM)





In every argument, there are three sides – there’s my side, there’s your side and then there is Truth’s side…. Unfortunately there are few if any who are inclined to look at any event from the third angle. The first and the second invariably are often the only arbiters of what the truth may be, irrespective of whatever it maybe. Actually, more than the truth, we all are interested in maintaining our version of truth – simply because our version inevitably makes us the hero of the event and justifies all our actions. Hence, what we consider Truth is often a half-truth – a truth of convenience.

Conscience is often the only thing that remains of the truth, although by itself conscience, however strong, can never be a substitute to the truth. Men live their entire lives in the hope of a permanent escape from its clutches but conscience is like the web of a canny spider; the more you try to run away the more it binds you.

Nothing is more dangerous than a half-truth. Unfortunately, nothing is more common than a half-truth. In a bid to play up to our conscience, all of us end up dressing our versions of the truth as if it’s the only version; never mind the repercussions of this unhealthy exercise on our lives.

Based on one of the best psychological stories ever (An Inspector Calls by J B Priestley), “Sau Jhooth Ek Sach” is a brilliant rendition of the hour of confession and redemption and its aftereffects on a family that prides itself on its high class morality and values. Although the film drives heavily from the Uttam Kumar’s classic Bengali movie, “Thana Theke Ashchi”, the brilliance of the plot lies in the way the director has not implanted the movie in the current milieu but successfully made it relevant to today’s age and times.

Set in the house of a famous and respected industrialist and spread over the period of one night, – but with periodic flashbacks of the dark acts of it’s characters- the film studies in deep detail the impact of a half-truth on a family that lives in the shadow of it’s conscience, the victim of their acts of omission and commission and the gradual coming of age of the unpleasant Truth.

Mammooty in the author-backed role of the no-nonsense Inspector Vivek is perfectly cast in the role of a man who is in the singular pursuit of the Truth. The quiet professionalism, the silent demeanour, the stern yet benevolent look all combine to add an air of mystery to a characterization that pervades the inner conscience of the viewer and chills him to the bone. The actor not only gives out an aura of mystery but also is responsible for the curiosity. The only point of his performance that jars somewhat is his diction.

In direct contrast to Inspector Vivek, is the character of Vikram Gokhale as the unrepentant industrialist Vikrant Pradhan. In a role that signifies and brings to fore the other side of human nature, the deception, the greed, the self-serving capacity of the multitude of those who treat truth as a personal fiefdom, Vikram manages to walk tall over a carcass of seemingly broken dreams and ambitions. His ruthlessness, his habitual stab at authority and power, his perfect take on the state of inebriation all go towards making him the perfect example of a man who has traded off his conscience for his ambitions in life.

Joy Sengupta as the defeatist face of today’s youth, as someone who is unable to stand for his own principles but who tries to blend his own identity with the group identity is brilliant. As a man who is willing to trade his own individuality in the hope of gaining an identity, Joy’s portrayal is one of the most earnest seen in recent times. The actor manages to effortlessly convey the frustration and the duplicity of a human being whose existence and life is not his own but a favour from his ancestors.

Neha Dubey on the other hand is efficient in her portrayal of a girl who has taken to a show of supercilious arrogance to hide her own insecurities. As a woman who suffers from an inferiority complex, Neha brings to the character of Zoya an inherent empathy. The scene wherein the character faces the mirror and is unable to appreciate her own self shows a lack of self-esteem that is a masterstroke of performance. As a person who seeks appreciation of her beauty in the eyes of the others, Neha scores brilliantly.

Lillette Dubey as a woman who has no identity beyond being a mother and a wife is brilliant. Kiran Janjani on the other hand as a man labouring beneath the shadow of his own conscience is true to the script.

It’s rare for a director to take up such a complex and difficult subject for his debut. Normally first-time directors shy away from such attempts. In this context it’s really an evidence of the director’s self-belief and trust in his own directorial abilities that not only did he take up the challenge but has also been brilliant both in the characterization of the actors and the execution of the story. The way in which he builds up the pressure, giving the audience small hints here and there and still keeping them confused till the end is the hallmark of an accomplished director and hence it’s no hyperbole to say that Bappaditya Roy has arrived as a director. We hope he remains true to his calling and we, as an audience, are treated to more such exciting movies.

The effect of a thriller lies in the script and no thriller can succeed without a taut script. Pankaj Kapur deserves accolades for the way he manages to keep the script taut and relentless to its end.

A movie to watch, if only to appreciate the Truth…. So what if the Truth is bitter!

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