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Inspector Calling
Sep 14, 2005 12:11 PM 3939 Views
(Updated Sep 14, 2005 12:11 PM)





Yesterday, a friend who works as a film critic in a national daily tagged me along with him to see the press preview of Sau Jhooth Ek Sach. All I knew about this movie was that it starred Mammootty and had an interesting premise to it. But we all know that in Bollywood, many a interesting premise has been broken into smithereens by the movie moghuls and their vision or rather lack of it. A good story is butchered, battered and raped. Often writers do not recognize their own stories and scenarios. And to top it all Sau Jhooth Ek Sach was directed by a first timer (Bappaditya Roy). First time directors too are dangerous entities, often botching up the end product in their over zealous approach towards craft.

But what was heartening was that Bappa had chosen a play by JB Priestly (Inspector Calling) to weave his narrative. Also, the cast was primarily from theatre and television – actors and not stars – Vikram Gokhle (Vikrant Pradhan), Lillette Dubey (his wife), Neha Dubey (Zoya), Joy Sengupta (Zoya’s fiancé), Kiran Jhanjhani (Pradhan’s son) and of course Mammooty (Inspector Vivek).


Vikrant Pradhan is a tycoon and when the movie opens we see him celebrating the launch of his new wine and also the engagement of his daughter with Joy Sengupta, the son of his business partner Khanna. Party over and tension is in the air. Khanna’s actor son openly ridicules him and goes out for a film shoot. Husband and wife abuse each other in the bedroom and a disgusted Pradhan comes down for a drink. The betrotheds are busy smooching each other and indulging in a sort of a foreplay but one can sense something amiss. There is no joy in the sexual encounter. At this point, around midnight, Inspector Vivek enters the household and informs Pradhan of the suicide of a young girl in the neighbouring basti. Pradhan is aghast at the Inspector’s temerity of disturbing him for the death of someone he did not know. However, as the night progresses, Inspector Vivek brings out evidence that proves how each and every member of the Pradhan household contributed towards the girl’s suicide. Exit Inspector Vivek. Pradhan makes a call to the Colaba Police Station in a bid to contact Vivek. What he learns … shatters the entire family.


Vikram Gokhle steals the show. He is in top form here. His drunken banter, his arrogance and the body language adopted by him are testimony to his sheer prowess as a performer. Mammootty, Joy Sengupta and Lillette Dubey are adequate in their portrayals. Kiran Jhanjhani sticks out like a sore thumb. He is awful.


Camerawork by Amitabha Singh (also the film’s producer) is evocative of the mood of the film. Pankaj Kapoor’s dialogues, however, could have been better, at times they are simply mediocre or grandiloquently pedantic. Aseem Sinha’s editing could have been tighter. Fazal Quershi’s background score is apt. Bappaditya Roy had probably done his homework well and that is why the movie is entrenched on firm ground.

Sau Jhooth Ek Sach is riveting stuff. It is not movie making at its pristine but yes … it is a sincere effort to do something different, sincerely. The biggest plus point of Sau Jhooth Ek Sach is its screenplay … taut and edge of the seat with a moral ground to it. Where it falters is probably the elements of theatricality which could have been avoided.

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Sau Jhooth Ek Sach