By Troy Ribeiro
Film: “Kuchh Bheege Alfaaz”; Director: Onir; Cast: Geetanjali Thapa, Zain Khan Durrani, Shray Rai Tiwari, Mona Ambegaonkar, Chandreyee Ghosh, Saheb Bhattacharjee and Shefali Chauhan; Rating: ***
In today’s world of instant romance and quick formulas, director Onir’s “Kuchh Bheege Alfaaz”, though presented with all the trappings of a modern day, heartfelt romantic drama, has an old-world charm. It is a tale of two melancholic misfits who fall in love.
Set in Kolkata, the tale intertwines the lives of Archana Pradhan aka Archie and Abhimanyu aka Alfaaz.
While Alfaaz is employed at a local radio station as a radio jockey who hosts the late evening show – an episodic series of unrequited love stories called “Kuchh Bheege Alfaaz”, Archana is a young vivacious girl who works as a copywriter in a creative agency called ‘SirKasm’ that creates content for “foot-prints” on the online media.
Alfaaz, despite being a popular and sought-after RJ is a reserved guy who likes to bask in his isolation.
Archana, on the other hand, despite suffering from leukoderma and being constantly rejected by guys, has an air about herself. Though she is close to Apu, her colleague at the agency, she resorts to blind dates on a dating app. After a series of her blind dates going awry, how she meets Alfaaz and how they fall in love, forms the crux of this tale.
The screenplay is suave and quirkily modern, making the film have a fresh feel. As the story unfurls, we realise that RJ Alfaaz has a mysterious past. His guilt is what has moulded him to live in a cocoon.
And like any romance drama, there is pathos written in every scene. The presentation is sensitive and layered, but the narrative trudges tediously. The first half is painfully slow and the pace picks up marginally in the second half.
The film sweetly offers life lessons like, “Life does not give us second chances…”, “Love is in the eyes of the beholder” and many more… and though these life lessons have been oft heard, they seem to snuggly ensconce in the predictable plot. But what is commendable about the writing is Onir’s ability to camouflage the young Abhimanyu in the flash-back scenes, thereby creating a suspense element to the story telling.
Debutant Zain Khan Durrani as the RJ Alfaaz is an engaging actor who is natural on-screen. When he first receives Archie’s call, he has the grace to seem a little surprised and he executes it to perfection.
Geetanjali Thapa is every inch the spunky Archie who internalises her pain with her pragmatic demeanour and smile on her lips. She is aptly supported by Mona Ambegaonkar as her feisty mother. They make a lovely real-to-life, mother-daughter duo.
Shray Rai Tiwari as Archie’s “best friend” Apu is stereotypical. He is the ‘Stepney – a spare tyre in a vehicle’, a bouncing board when things go askew in Archie’s life. You empathise with him and do feel for him when he trots along with Archie, especially in the scene at the shoe store.
Debutante Shefali Chauhan as Chavi the young school girl at the hill station is impressively natural and charming.
On the whole, the film has decent production values and is well-executed. The soundtrack of “Pehla nasha” is effectively used to up the viewing experience.
Overall, credit must be given to a film that delivers the goods, and if you’ve ever liked Onir’s films, you’re likely to enjoy this one.