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Split Wide Open (1999)

Unrated  |   |  Crime, Drama  |  25 July 2001 (Belgium)
6.5
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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 198 users  
Reviews: 3 user | 2 critic

A search for a lost street girl in midst of exposés of modern sexual behaviour in Bombay and a water mafia in the city, this is a real 'split wide open' of the Indian glamour capital.

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Title: Split Wide Open (1999)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Rahul Bose ...
...
Nandita
Shivaji Satam ...
Shiv
Farida Haider Mulla ...
Didi
Shiv Paul ...
Bobby
Kiran Nagarkar ...
Arti Gosavi ...
Arti
...
Auntie
...
Leela
Veerendra Saxena ...
Altaf
Anjula Bedi ...
Mrs. G (show "I can't get no satisfaction")
Amit Divekar ...
The Son-in-Law (show 'I can't get no satisfaction')
Sopan Dorkar ...
Peon (show 'I can't get no satisfaction')
Adya Bedi ...
Virgin 1 (show 'The Virgins')
Neha Dubey ...
Virgin 2 (show "The Virgins")
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Storyline

The film pits the new India of mobile phones, fancy cars and a growing middle class against the better known India of impoverished and exploited street urchins and caste structures. "Split Wide Open" refers to an American style talk show in which people, in darkness, confess to their secret sexual lives. Written by L.H. Wong <lhw@sfs.org.sg>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

16 Million People, 16 Million Stories, 16 Million Secret Lives. Which one of it is yours?

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

25 July 2001 (Belgium)  »

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Quotes

KP aka Kut Price: [to Nandita] I slept on the footpaths. I slept on these water pipes.
[pause]
KP aka Kut Price: And one day I got a job. In the hospital. To do what? To shave the bodies. The dead bodies. Good money. Arre this is Bombay. Only entry. No exit.
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User Reviews

Hidden In The Darkness of Streets
3 November 2011 | by (Fraggle Rock) – See all my reviews

Dev Benegal's fascinating and yet disturbing tale 'Split Wide Open' reminded me of Mira Nair's 'Salaam Bombay'. Very few Indian films have been able to portray street life in Bombay as authentically as these two. While it brings forth disturbing issues and tackles subjects about harsh reality, 'Split Wide Open' is both intense and comical.

Like Bose's K.P. says at some point in the film, 'When life is bad TV seems fun and when TV's bad, life seems fun'. Then Nandita mentions that Bombay is so deeply sunk in corruption that it is beyond repair and that the media is the only one that has power to tell the truth. But this raises another question. What value does the truth have in Bombay? Would it heal the city? Sex is also a key theme. Right from incest and prostitution to paedophilia and pederasty, 'Split Wide Open' touches on all these issues.

'Split Wide Open' is a well-crafted film. The art direction looks very genuine. The cinematography brings a voyeuristic feel. The writing is solid. The humour and intense sequences are treated well. The script does occasionally steer away from the main plot only to come back. Rahul Bose delivers one of his best performances. K.P. could have easily been a clichéd slumdwelling loser but Bose makes him likable and roots for him to succeed. Laila Rouass is charming as sexy Nandita who wants to do good through her work. Shivaji Satham and Farida Haider Mulla are brilliant. Ayesha Dharker tends to go over the top at times.

A satire that's poignant and enjoyable, 'Split Wide Open' works on various levels of entertainment. Not everybody would be comfortable seeing it, but it's definitely worth watching.


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