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14 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

It's not Bollywood!

8/10
Author: sam_3 from Tokyo
10 July 2001

Indian Film industry does have something more to offer than Bollywood- sing-n'-dance-in-unison flicks! Mind you, Indians used to make politically and philosophically challenging profound films several decades ago. This film, I repeat, is NOT bollywood. What a relief. KP is the leading charactor who wanders about Bombay saerching for "value", I think. He has four main contacts, one with a little girl Didi whom he cherrishes like his sister, another with a female TV presenter who's hosting a expose program "split wide open", and yet another with a nice Catholic priest, finally with a mob who sells water. All four lead us to a different story, each intertwined together. Each contact represents a certain set of value, and KP struggles to find out what is truly valuable. You have to see for yourself what he finds at the end. This film says that there isn't such thing called pure value. Profound love, wisdom, realism, tradition, post-modernism, violence; "ha-ha-" to all of them. Since I'm not an expert in acting and filming, so I won't comment on them.

But the strong message must be rated 18. Can you refute?

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Hidden In The Darkness of Streets

Author: Chrysanthepop from Fraggle Rock
3 November 2011

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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0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Slow, badly acted, without focus.

3/10
Author: Sander van Daatselaar from Amsterdam, Netherlands
15 February 2000

The rather disgusting title didn't promise much, but as one doesn't often get to see an Indian film I had good hopes. But Split wide open was a big disappointment. The very unclear and chaotic story is about a wealthy paedophil, a yuppie water salesman and a presenter of a sexuality talk-show 'split wide open'. The film chaotically jumps around between these and more subjects. The acting is really bad, soap opera like. The pace of the film is very slow, no bad thing in itself but for a modern big city story I want much more speed and drive to the story. Of the countless films made in India each year, why is this the one we get to see?

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