Laaga Chunari Mein Daag: Journey of a Woman
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Index 23 reviews in total 

14 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

An unholy plethora of a woman who belongs to the holiest place in India

7/10
Author: praneeth karkera from India
14 October 2007

A look at a lush green fully grown tree might be a treat for one's eye but even it's root might have ended up in some drain of a cosmopolitan city from where it sources its life.

Well such is the story of this movie where in a simple small town girl falls in the webs of the flesh industry to get her family out of it's hysterical trouble. Now when such is the story of the movie less is left for the director and more for the actors to perform....and do they deliver???....

YES they do, Rani Mukherjee does justice to this difficult role that she has performed, specially during the transformation from a village girl to the so called "high class escort". But Hats off to Jaya Bachchan & Konkona Sen Sharma who i should say is a jewel of bollywood. Its now that i realize how talented Mrs Bachchan is, a remarkable performance i should say. Abhiskek Bachchan is not Akshay Kumar but does his part in the movie to the audience's pleasure.

On an all it is a well crafted movie, a movie on which effort has not been put only to sell it but otherwise.As far as the Rs 220 that i spent on watching this film is concerned, i think i got my money's worth. My suggestion is "please go and watch the film for the performances.

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10 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Daag Dhona Thoda Mushkil Hai

Author: Chrysanthepop from Fraggle Rock
22 October 2007

I'd been wanting to watch 'Laaga Chunari Mein Daag' for a while mainly because it starred one of my favorite actresses Konkona Sen Sharma and a used-to-be favorite Rani Mukerjee (I still like her). In spite of hearing the bad reviews, I was still considering it as I expected that in the least I'd get to see two great performances. That's all I got.

Pradeep Sarkar could have made one fine movie but with so many unnecessary (and irritating) characters, the bad writing (clichès etc) and lack of character development the film is hugely bought down. Why the hell was there a need to have the whole Tinnu Anand - Sushant Singh track (they're irritating)? A wooden Abhishek adds nothing interesting (another track that could have better been left out). Anupam Kher hams it up as a card-board selfish (misogynist?) dad. Likewise the other characters are badly written. In the beginning we see a frantic Jaya Bachchan in the hospital when the husband's had a heart attack but Konkona's Chutki is shown to be very relaxed (as if nothing happened). Was she simply in denial or was she just staying positive? Then in a later scene (before Rani becomes an escort call girl) we see that her neighbor-friend offers her money for help but she still decides to sleep with his boss. Was it simply that phone call to her mother that pushed her off the edge? Jaya Bachchan plays a caricature mother and this can be added to one of her worst performances.

In addition to all the mess, most of the songs were horrible and should have been edited out. The only songs that stand out are the first track, the song that takes place when Badki becomes Natassha and the Mujra (even though it was chopped and could have been better left as a whole). The outdoor locations (e.g. Switzerland and Italy) in the songs were unnecessary but what would a Yashraj film be without such flooze?

On the positive side, as mentioned earlier, there are two standout performances. Apart from that one scene mentioned above, Konkona is brilliant. The role itself is not something particularly special, but the actress is and she definitely leaves a mark. The scenes with her and Rani are the best. Thankfully, there are enough of those to make the film somewhat worth the watch. It was funny seeing her do the singing and dancing (as it's the first time she's done that) not that she was bad or anything.

'Laaga Chunari Mein Daag' is Rani's film. The actress does one of her best acts and shows tremendous growth. Easily one of the best performances this year and all Rani needs is more great (and such different) roles in great films to mark her talent.

Hema Malini does a graceful cameo. However her dance-number is chopped into pieces. 'Would have liked to see her dance more. The cinematography is impressive, especially the shots of Banaras. On the whole, this is one severely flawed and very predictable film but with two fantastic performances that prevent me from calling it a waste of time. I'd recommend it to those who like the works of Rani and Konkona as long as they don't expect anything from the film itself.

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13 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

Good Storyline, Realistic and Optimistic Cinema

9/10
Author: alexjos from India
14 October 2007

When I went for the movie I was skeptical as I heard a review that the movie was a regressive tear jerker. Which thankfully was DEFINITELY NOT TRUE. I wonder if the reviewer actually saw the movie.

The story is about a benaras based family falling into hard times and Rani moving to mumbai to save the family from financial ruin.

A family falling into bad times is certainly not a novel concept. What is refreshing is the story line, which is definitely modern and realistic and never one dimensional. Life in Benaras and Mumbai has been captured beautifully without a trace of cliché.

The romance between Konkona and Kunaal is refreshing and so is the chemistry between Rani and Abhishek. The story line is sometimes sad but always realistic and upbeat.

Acting and Direction is superb. Rani and Konkona are superb. Rani sizzles with her looks and acting. Konkona acting is superb. Kunal has shown he is much more that a pretty face. Abhishek role is short but he does a decent job. Jaya's acting is flawless.

Kudos to the director/producer for choosing a difficult subject and handling it with great sensitivity.

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

A Movie That Has To Be Seen At least Once

8/10
Author: Pratik Jasani from United Kingdom
5 November 2007

There was a song by a similar title, sung many years back by the legendary K.L. Saigal.

Based on the old format about poverty, a movie production company hires a place in the Northern Indian city of Benares, where two sisters, Natasha and Chutki live with their parents. The father, Shivshankar Sahay, is against renting out his house to the movie company but has to accept it due to financial reasons. One night, upon request from one of the female members of the company, Natasha and Chutki go and watch a dance against their parents wishes. At the end of the performance, the three visit the female dancer, who tells Natasha that she is very pretty. But soon events turn for the worse and the movie production company, who had paid the family for the use of their house for filming, decide to withdraw and demand to have their money back. In the meantime, Natasha, who has had to leave college and help at home, has to admit her father to a hospital as he suffers heart problems and has to pay for him to be admitted. She decides to go to Mumbai and get a job as an actress as the female member of the movie had promised her. But nothing works out and in order to support her family, Natasha is forced to make up her mind as what she wants to do. But events force her to turn into a high class prostitute.

This is one movie, that Rani Mukherjee, as Natasha, tries to show her versatility as an actress and has proved it. The other bit of excellent acting is by Jaya Bachchan as her mother and also Abhishek and Konkona Sen. But Hema Malini, who makes a special appearance as the dancer, is just magnificent even though she's in it as "special appearance." The movie also stars Tinu Anand as Shishankar Sahay's evil brother.

Conclusion: This is worth watching at least once.

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5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Underrated film, take time to see it for yourself.

9/10
Author: from United States
30 October 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I read the user comments before I saw this movie and I have to say after watching it I was pleasantly surprised.

The movie is about a sister who turns to prostitution to support her family. Some users criticized how the main character ends up in prostitution and others criticized the outcome (skip this next line if you don't want to know the end of the movie-namely that her family and to-be-fiancée finds out and accepts her anyway). They said the movie was woman bashing. I did not find this to be the case. The film wasn't saying that all women end in prostitution if they have no job skills, it was merely saying that some women end up getting tricked into prostitution. That is true. I don't think its woman bashing to start with a real problem that happens with women. The outcome of her family shouldering responsibility and not putting all the shame on the main character is again not a sign of women bashing. It is merely implying that women who get involved into prostitution are not fully to blame. There are circumstances and events that end up pressuring women into these situations. Society needs to take their fair share of responsibility. It dealt with the issue of blame and shame. It did not deal with how to get women out of brothels, but not every movie needs to find a solution to a social problem for it to get a good rating. I think it had a good message that prostitution as an industry is degrading and harmful for women, but women are not solely to blame, those who had a hand in sending women into prostitution should also take there share of the shame.

As for other parts of the movie, I find the acting to be good. Some of the songs were rather enjoyable, others could have been edited. All in all, it was good film with skilled actors, nice scenery, and a decent message.

I think most viewers could enjoy this movie.

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7 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

The Golden Triangle of Bollywood

9/10
Author: bk_connection from Copenhagen, Denmark
15 November 2007

What can I say except for the Golden Triangel of Bollywood has made the film a master-piece in superb acting.

Jaya Bachan Rani Mukerjee Konkona Sen

What a golden Triangle, all of the have excellent skills in acting and the whole movie is carried on these girls shoulders, and they have done a really good job.

Iam trying to understand why this movie was a flop in India, was it the critics or the public who didn't wanna see it ? Do the public only want Masala Movies with no meaning like Om SHanti Om (eventhough SRK is a brilliant actor). I don't wanna tell about the story but Laaga Chunari Mein Daag is a must see movie, and if you liked Saawaria and Om Shanti Om, I can guarantee that this movie has more dept to offer.

One of this years best movies in Drama is :Laaga Chunari Mein Daag, And thriller : Bhool Bhulayaa

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7 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Banaras, Bombay, and strong women characters

7/10
Author: VirginiaK_NYC from New York, NY
19 October 2007

As anyone who has seen a trailer for this movie knows, Rani Mukherjee is a girl from a fine Banaras family on the economic downslide, who goes to Bombay intending to make money to help them out and finds herself in business as a high-class professional escort.

When her younger sister, Konkona Sen Sharma, comes to Bombay to take up her own job in an ad agency, we see the two of them in a tonga on Marine Drive, the Queen's Necklace fulfilling its promise to swirl the city in glamor. When some ladies of the night pass by the carriage, Konkona makes an unthinking provincial girl's harsh comment, and her sister rebukes her sharply for her lack of compassion.

In this passage of perfect dialogue, you have the main tension driving the story, and one of its many moments of good acting between well-drawn women characters. What is going to happen if the younger sister finds out what her big sister has done in order to secure her own future? Will Rani's sacrifice separate her forever from her sister's love and respect, and from a chance at acceptance in romance and marriage?

I gather this is a Hindi movie theme known to the Indian audience. LCMD is far from perfect -- there's a mixing of story types going on probably, the old-style melodrama and something more modern and psychological -- but the good things about it make it more than worth seeing. There are four striking women characters (Jaya as mother, and Hema Malini in a special appearance that blesses the whole movie, including a dance that should have been much longer) who all seem relatively "real" in relation to Hindi movie women. They relate to each other in a decent, normal way (in small roles we have a less-nice girl and also a friend in Bombay as well).

Another good thing: the parents are less than respect-worthy without being "bad" Hindi movie parents -- father clearly is an upper-class slacker who'd rather develop "symptoms" than get a job, rent out a room, sell the property and live within his means; and mother is interestingly ambivalent about what her daughter is doing in order to be sending home the cash.

The cinematography of Banares and Bombay is worth the trip to the theaters, and the clothes are worth taking notes on, both the subtle and stunning cotton traditional clothes of the family in Banaras and Rani's high-style nicely top-of-the-city wardrobe. You might be reminded of India as the home of the most wonderful textiles on the planet.

If the story is still Bollywoodized and Bollywood-y (how did a villain know the thing he knows? why don't we see a bit more of Rani's "work life"? why do we need a song that is actually set in Switzerland -- though maybe that's ironic/postmodern?), it nonetheless is a rich enough, fresh enough, and engaging enough experience, with great performances.

As it really is about its women, the men are fine but you wouldn't focus on them in thinking about the movie. If you see the movie, you may find it raises good questions -- it it progressive? regressive? what do we mean by these things? -- worth talking and thinking about.

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6 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Predictable storyline but still manages to entertain

6/10
Author: AishFan from San Jose, CA, US
12 October 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

We have seen Bollywood churn out several good movies about the innocent small-town girl who is forced into a life of prostitution. One of my personal favorites, Julie, depicts this story very well. We get to see the same story once again in LCMD. I think the biggest strength of the film is Rani's great performance followed by the beautiful cinematography from the ghats of Banaras to the Mumbai skyline. Rani's performances are improving film by film, and one can now safely say that she is the top actress in Bollywood. Konkona Sen also does a good job. Hema Malini is a pleasant surprise. Jaya is a big disappointment after her lovely performances in Kal Ho Naa Ho, Koi Mere Dil Se Poochhe, and Fiza. Anupam Kher was OK. Songs are decent. Being a Yash Raj production, I had extremely high expectations. I wasn't let down totally, but expected something more, something new. If nothing else, watching the movie is a nice way to begin the festive season in a year where very few good movies have come out. For those of you who don't understand Hindi, the English subtitles are quite a comical translation.

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7 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

LCMD - yet another run-of-the-mill

7/10
Author: n467889 from United Kingdom
13 October 2007

This fall is supposed to be full of good and bad surprises. All the previews of this flick promised that a treat is likely to come our way. And this is exactly what has gone against this movie.The highlights of the songs weren't too misleading, as far as its catchy tunes are concerned. The plot revolves around a family settled in Benaras. Shivshanker Sahay (Anupam Kher) is a retired man lives in an ancestral house, with two daughters, and his wife, Sabitri (Jaya Bachchan). The elder daughter Vibha (Rani) is more conscious of her parents' old age, their growing anxiety for making both ends meet, and her incapacity as a woman to support her parents as a son would have done. This financial crisis pushes Vibha to fetch for work in a city of opportunities where opportunities are very hard to strike. From this point, the never-ending saga of Vibha turning into Natasha brings a very predictable twist in the story. Chutki (Konkana Sen) is one of the finest artists in Indian cinema. She has done full justice to her role as a younger daughter with little understanding of the family crisis and huge dreams for future. Though it is a very well-executed movie, with finesse of Pradeep Sarkar, and all the right ingredients for a commercial hit, it is a very predictable movie. The reason for its predictability is that the previews not only revealed the entire story, but stole all the surprising elements from it.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Pretty decent one ....

7/10
Author: bollywoodplusplus from United States
27 December 2007

I started out with a pretty bleak expectation, to be honest, but it was not all that bad after a 2+ hours.

Though I was very impressed the ad-man Pradeep Sarkar's first outing, Parineeta. It was one of the best of that year. I began with expectations of good cinematography. But as the movie unfolded, it was hard to disregard the story to watch each and every frame! Certainly the frames, esp the Benaras ghat scenes were very artistically done. One can be pretty much sure of artistic delight of Pradeep Sarkar's penchant for visuals.

Acting wise, it's Rani Mukherjee's solo movie. I don't remember seeing her in a pivotal role in any film. So much so that, her co-star Abhishek Bachchan almost seems a gust appearance in the movie. Kunal Kapoor does good job in his role. (Why does every working professional hero/heroine in the Hindi movies have to do a job in ad-industry?) Konkana SenSharma - the only character I thought was a miscast. A big fan of her, almost all her movies - but her role in this movie looks sorta fake! Its not matter of the middle-class-family daughter in Benaras or working professional (ad-industry, of course) in Bombay. For that matter, last year, Vishaal Bharadwaj shot her beautifully in Omkara! I just think she is not commercial-movie-type. She seems very fake, when trying to dance or sing.

Shantanu Moitra's music is passable. 'Hum to aise hain bhaiyya' is hummable by the time you finish watching the movie, because it keeps playing in the movie throughout. This is a typical filmy album, with few happy, a dance number, a sad song, the usual fair. The only song really stands out is the sort of hip-hop number with Mita Vashisth's voice with Shubha Mudgal's rendition of Manna Dey's old classic, 'Laaga chunari mein daag'.

Lastly, I am truly happy for Pradeep Sarkar. Here's a man, who came to the industry very late in his career, but I am glad he did. In fact, I think going to Switzerland for Yash Chopra's movies is a must, so he does! But really, he doesn't need to go abroad to make his visuals appealing, he has enough colors in his desi palette to fill the canvas!

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