Via Darjeeling (2008) Poster

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A Modernised "Rashomon"
bobbysing29 June 2008
Warning: Spoilers
An Experiment gone haywire.

There are already a very small number of viewers of such experimental kind of cinema. So it's a responsibility for the directors to come up with nice and appreciable projects which are capable of bringing more viewers to this genre.

But director Arindam Nandy's "Via Darjeeling" is not entertaining and enlightening enough to impress. Despite of its talented star cast and an interesting plot it fails to win over the viewers with its content.

The storyline revolves around a group of friends who are discussing a mystery and giving their own versions of the happening which may have occurred according to them. But after a good start as each of them start giving their viewpoint the plot gets disturbed and seems to be confused in its own web.

Moreover the most annoying part comes when the film ends abruptly. Climax with many possibilities is acceptable but when the movie ends suddenly without any justification then its looks like deliberately done to give it an offbeat perspective.

Performances wise Kay Kay and Vinay Pathak are fine as always. Proshanth Narayanan and Sandhya Mrudal excel. The rest are all there but nothing extraordinary to showcase. Sonali Kulkarni looks ravishing, Parvin Dabbas, Simone Singh and Rajat Kapoor are OK.

One interesting observation. The movie has a subject very similar to Kurosawa's "RASHOMON". In fact it's a modernized version of the Black & White movie and in one scene Rajat Kapoor can be seen holding the DVD of this classic in his hand. May be it's the director's way of giving tribute to the master film-maker.
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A human mind cannot bear too much truth
Avinash Patalay17 December 2008
The basic premise is borrowed from Kurosawa's Rashomon - narration in flashback, rain et all. And yes, the movie is just about OK, correction: cut the generosity 'the movie is little below OK". But had lots of scope to make it more interesting. The entire star-cast is loaded double-barrelled gun and the performances of a few are a revelation.

Ø Kay-Kay & Sonali Kulkarni:: The main protagonists and the subtle changes they bring about in their performances every time the anchor changes hands is an indeed interesting watch.

Ø Parvin Dabas:: Same as above only less impact. Surely this is the first time you watch him act.

Ø Prashant Narayan:: Not enough screen-time as anticipated and hence turns out to be a very normal performance. Otherwise, he is one-hell of an actor. Sincere recommendation, he should stop the Haley's comet act and jump in.

Ø Vinay Pathak, Rajat Kapoor:: Consistent performers and require no more adjectives.

Ø Simone Singh:: Yes, a revelation that she can quite act! And of course she is making an honest attempt to break the Heena mould.

Ø Sandhya Mridul:: Reprises her usual "Page 3" performance (read that as carefree, independent, opinionated).

The songs are good.

Arindam is not bad as a first timer and as earlier said could have added more punch. Of course, NFDC production is another reason you should watch.

The ending is a downer and leaves you with a cheated feeling.
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No Need For Via, Make A U-Turn and Watch Something Else
Chrysanthepop4 February 2009
'Via Darjeeling' is pretty much a much ado about nothing kind of film. In the end one does feel that they have wasted about two hours watching a movie that left way too much to be desired. True, the film is different from the usual Bollywood flick but some filmmakers seem to forgot that different does not necessarily equal good and 'Via Darjeeling' is pretentious to say the least. Basically, it's about a group of friends telling different perspectives of one story. That's it. On the technical side, the songs are good. The lyrics of some of the songs are especially great. Cinematography is monotonous and the sound effect is quite poor. The bad writing does not give enough scope for some of the actors. Kay Kay Menon delivers the best performance of the lot, followed by Vinay Pathak. Sonali Kulkarni and Simone Singh look ravishing. Kulkarni is good in many scene, bad in one scene and average otherwise. Parvin Dabas is adequate. Sandhya Mridul, Prashant Naryananan and Rajat Kapoor are alright. I was surprised that such a cast of talented actors chose to be in this movie. After all, they are the reason I decided to see it and I couldn't seem to figure it out. Were they doing a favour or did they really see something in the script?
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Could have been a very goof flick
Nitin Jain18 August 2008
Via Darjeeling is a kind of movie that after watching you say that oh my God !!! This movie had such a great potential and it could have been made so so much better. It had host of brilliant performers like Kay Kay Menon, Rajat Kapoor, Sandhya Mridul, Sonali Kulkarni and Vinay Pathak. You cant say more highly of this guy. With each movie he is improving and when you think that this has to be his best performance he comes up with another good one. Sonali Kulkarni proves that what a good actress she is. She portrays the same role from different points of view and her performance is very good every time. Simone Singh I think should be used more in movies. She is such a fine actress. This movie could have been a very good movie had it had a good climax. You cant leave a movie or a novel in the middle and leave it to viewers and readers respectively to interpret the finale. If only it had a good and complete ending I would have rated it a 7 instead of a 5. But still a good one time watch and I am warning the viewers that when they wont find an ending they are going to be disappointed. So if you can cope with it go and see it.
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Wrong Proof Of The Film-making Theorem. ♦ 54%
Tejas Nair19 October 2013
Via Darjeeling is an immensely confusing movie since the beginning, thank God for the performers & the characters they play. And let us not thank the makers yet. The film can be best reviewed by dividing into 2 parts:

THE GOOD: So, starting off with the chemistry between a newly married couple, the plot introduces suspense, mildly jumping into another setup. Vinay Phatak shares the story of this couple to his friends and as time runs, each of his friends start making up stories to what might have happened. The base is - one of the couple goes missing and Vinay, a policeman, hasn't been able to track that person down. As Rajat Kapoor, Sandhya Mridul, Simone Singh & Prroshant Narayanan tell the stories, the viewers are kept awestruck. The dialogs are beautiful & witty. Performance is great. Music is fine. Cinematography is good. Kay Kay Menon & Sonali Kulkarni are both apt as the couple.

THE BAD: All seems good until the made-up stories start inducing confusion. It sure does reference Akira Kurosawa's RASHOMON, but the level of implication is astronomical. Towards the end, the suspense level is at its peak. Just then, the writers/director spoil the broth by disbanding. The climax clicks off without even saying anything. This converts the whole 100 minutes of potential cinema into a horseplay.

So, with one of the most destructive climax ever (which may be to give the film an off-beat essence), Via Darjeeling has great strength, only its execution is lousy, shabby & disastrously experimental.

BOTTOM LINE: Recommended for people who want to be taken for a ride by writers who pretend to be what they aren't. 5.4 out of 10 for the débutante director. His efforts are respected.

Can be watched with a typical Indian family? YES

Alcohol/Smoking: Strong | Violence: Mild | Vulgarity/Nudity:very Mild
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