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Its full of amateurish flaws but still has a fresh interesting plot and few decent songs.
BARKHAA, the debut film of director Shadaab Mirza featuring a lesser known cast is another of those wrongly promoted films focusing on sex alone. The film's posters and publicity campaign deliberately tried to project it like an erotica whereas it doesn't even have a single good sensual scene to serve the same.
Revolving around the life of a 'bar dancer' (supposedly inspired from real life events), BARKHAA shows the sign of an amateur attempt right from it first scene itself, where in a book launch event scene, the book being read is in Hindi but its visible cover design is mainly in English. The same flawed vision continues throughout the film as the writer-director fails to define the continuity between the past and present sequences with any logical clarity and wastes a good 35-40 minutes in the beginning just to establish the romance factor without revealing anything about its main story-plot. So in the first hour, you just have a film with a decent social subject, few songs much better than many big duds and a devotional qawwali used beautifully in a sequence just before the interval.
In the second half, though the good twists and turns in the storyline keep the interest alive, it's the execution that doesn't let the film excel in any department and the director tackles everything too casually without caring much about the links or the required reasoning. Few of the experienced performers try their best to lift up the film in their allotted scenes (like in the bar-raid sequence followed by the confrontation within the police station) but the questionable script progression lets them down repeatedly ruining their visible efforts.
Playing the lead as Barkhaa, Sara Loren enacts the tough role too simply without any wide range of expressions that actually breaks the backbone of the film's emotional storyline. Taaha Shah tries hard but doesn't get anything great to display in his badly written (lead) role, plus its really amazing to see how the director uses the dependable Priyanshu Chatterjee in such a careless manner as the hero's guilty elder brother. Puneet Issar keeps doing his routine father-act as usual, but the two talented actors who make a few scenes worth watching are Ashiesh Roy (as the Bar owner) and Shweta Pandit as Barkhaa's close friend who truly cares for her. In fact Shweta easily leads many key scenes looking even more beautiful than Sara and Ashiesh easily wins your heart as an emotionally concerned employer.
With a strictly average editing and background score BARKHAA gets a good support from its cinematography and music department having a few fine songs as compared to the poor soundtrack of many famous biggies. Particular the way a devotional track "Man Kunto Maula" has been used in the film surely deserves a special mention here among the rest. In short, despite being based on the life of a Bar Girl (who are not essentially Sex workers), BARKHAA has been wrongly promoted as an erotic film misguiding the viewers and has a fresh interesting plot that could have been dealt with much more maturity and emotional depth.
Interestingly the film made me recall a similar real life incident shown in one the Crime based TV serials a few months back that looked like a great potential plot for an engaging feature film. And here we have BARKHAA made on the same but not with the required polished execution unfortunately.
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