Dir: Sabal Singh Shekhawat
Cast: Rahul Khanna, Arjun Mathur, Shivani Ghai, Monica Dogra, Aadya Bedi
Let’s begin by saying that Indian films in English language are usually a delight. Maybe, the fact that they seldom happen is what piques our interest. However, there’s no hard and fast rule that all of them will accomplish what they originally set out for. Many a time, they stumble — even if there are not lingual barriers in the flow — just like any other movie would under a given situation. Fireflies doesn’t stumble because it moves so hesitatingly that you wonder what is it waiting for. It’s very reflective but doesn’t exude anything memorable, neither in dialogues nor in scenes. But it does have a relatable story to share. The only problem is that it doesn’t know how exactly to say it.
The film begins with an exposition on why exactly is it titled so. Revolving around three siblings comprising two boys and a girl, the story runs in parallel between the brothers with the young sister providing an engaging voiceover. Their lives are going to change and so would they with the passage of time. This change is addressed in terms of broken relationships and a penchant to escape responsibilities. The characters who eventually join the aforementioned kin all have their respective angles but each of them end up providing a better view into the two brothers rather than the other way round.
It’s almost impressive, the key word here being ‘almost’.
In an ideal world, this film wouldn’t have lasted longer than 70 minutes. A majority of the sequences are repetitive and pointless. Even if you give the benefit of creative doubt to the filmmaker who happens to be the screenwriter too, you can’t excuse the boredom that the first half so effortlessly generates. Predictable screenplay with the protagonists exchanging the F-word does little to up the entertainment quotient.
It’s only after intermission that the story picks a bit of a pace and ambles to a more effective arena. But you still keep guessing what’s going on; that’s the beauty of this film. It lacks the punch but keeps you glued. And to the musicians’ credit, lovely English songs in the background help the journey.
In terms of onscreen performance, Arjun Mathur — who convincingly plays a troubled man — delivers the finest among the lot. Rahul Khanna essays his sensible elder brother and appears straight out of SoBo with his etiquettes in place but heart lost somewhere else. Monica Dogra’s role provides temporary respite from the slow pace but ultimately, her conflicted character becomes too much for the actress to handle. Aadya Bedi is balanced as a cheated wife while Shivani Ghai is remarkable as the ‘other woman’.