For Real - Movie review

Sep 18, 2010, 06:41 IST | Bryan Durham

A little girl named Shruti (Hassan) is bewildered that her mother, who she was otherwise close to, would want to spend time apart from her. Her head is brimming with conflicting thoughts when she goes to the railway station to receive her.

FOR REAL
(U; DRAMA)
Dir: Sona Jain
Cast: Sarita Chaudhary, Adil Hussain, Zoya Hassan, Sameer Dharmadhikari
Rating : ***



What's it about: A little girl named Shruti (Hassan) is bewildered that her mother, who she was otherwise close to, would want to spend time apart from her. Her head is brimming with conflicting thoughts when she goes to the railway station to receive her.

While waiting for the train to arrive, her brother concocts a tale around throwaway toys they've bought, involving aliens from the Orion galaxy coming to earth as shapeshifters.

The little girl believes every word. When her mom does arrive, they almost don't recognise her. She used to have waist length hair, but now has cut it quite short. There's a marked difference, indeed.

Coming to terms with the possibility that her 'mother' could possibly be an alien, Shruti then decides to warn her dad. She's even prepared to go the whole hog -- all the way to the Orion galaxy -- to get her 'real' mother back.

Obviously, the father and the mother have problems of their own that they are resolving. However, it appears that the mother has made up her mind that she wants out.

In all the emotional melee, Shruti makes a run for it when her dad refuses to take her to Orion. They finally find her only to figure out that there's more than meets the eye.

What's hot: The premise is engaging enough. Child psychology is intriguing to say the least and it's admirable that Jain has helmed this story from an eight-year-old's perspective for the most part. Zoya Hassan plays Shruti convincingly. When she's distrusting or helpless, her eyes speak volumes.

As her distraught father fighting his demons, Adil Hussain impresses in what I suspect is his first screen appearance. The Delhi theatre actor makes the best of a joyless character trying to salvage what's left of his life.

What's not: If you're looking to connect with the audiences, think in a language they speak for the most part. Or at least speak your language of choice convincingly. While Adil's accent is more or less perfect, his intonation is heavily affected by his stage experience.

Sarita is a New Yorker by origin, a Londoner thanks to the script and a reluctant Indian (for 10 years), so her accent sounds muddled. Zoya's speaking parts seem heavily rehearsed and unnatural. However, that doesn't seem to affect the parts where she actually emotes. The story gets heavy-handed and sluggish in the flashbacks.

What to do: While the film has its flaws, it's worth the watch only because of the unexpected climax. You know it's building to something, but you never quite guess what's below the surface.

The unpredictability works to its advantage, but it does leave you wondering if things could've ended differently. That could be it's sole triumph.

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