Friday, March 24, 2006

Being Cyrus

The tag line of Homi Adajania's Being Cyrus is “who you let in can change your life”! The movie begins with the arrival of Cyrus Mistry (Saif Ali Khan) into the lives of Dinshaw and Katie Sethna who live in a dilapidated bungalow among the secluded hills of Panchgani. Dinshaw (Naseeruddin Shah) is a retired sculptor and is forever stoned. His once beautiful, over the hill wife Katie (Dimple Kapadia) immediately takes to Cyrus, who comes to assist Dinshaw at his pottery school.

The tales revolves around Cyrus and the dysfunctional Sethna family and shuttles between Panchgani and Bombay where Dinshaw’s aged father Fardoonji Sethna (Honey Chhaya) lives with his younger son Farokh (Boman Irani) and his wife Tina (Simone Singh).

As the movie proceeds, one realizes that everything is not right with the Sethna family. There are skeletons in the cupboards and a lot has been swept under the carpet. Not just that, even Cyrus has his own mysteries and demons to fight. As Katie pours herself all over Cyrus in her attempt to win his passion and make him dance to her tune, Cyrus decides to play a different game altogether. His is a complicated round of chess, with each member of the Sethna family a pawn in his hands. As the plot slowly unfurls, morbid and unanticipated sides of these characters are revealed. Saying anything beyond this point would be giving away the plot.

Being Cyrus is embellished with some fine performances, something that's expected from an ensemble cast. Naseeruddin Shah as Dinshaw is flawless yet again. His stoned expression and apparent detachment from life is beautifully portrayed by Shah. He is especially outstanding in the sequence when he cuts his foot while trying to pluck flowers from a well.

Saif Ali Khan took a big risk by stepping away from his current status of box-office heart throb and play Cyrus. He is present in almost every frame and literally carries the film on his able shoulders. He’s mysterious and a rogue, yet so vulnerable that you want to protect him. Looks like every now and then Chhote Nawab relishes playing the bad boy (remember Ek Hasina Thi?) and I must say he does it with great panache!!

Boman Irani as the scheming, blunt and quarrelsome Farokh is a bit jarring. He’s your stereotypical Parsi complete with the accent and white shirt and trousers. He did have some hilarious sequences though, specially the fight about the neighbour’s pet dog.

The worst thing about the movie is probably Dimple Kapadia. She is supposed to be the femme fatale here, but I’m sorry to say she’s a far cry from either Dil Chahta Hai or even Leela. She hammed throughout the movie reducing Katie to a sad caricature!

Honey Chhaya, Manoj Pahwa (as the cop) and Simone Singh provide excellent support to the lead characters!

The cinematography and the background score deserve special mention for lending Being Cyrus that unique quality that sets it apart from the rest of the mindless Bollywood fare that are churned out week after week.

The uniqueness of Being Cyrus lies in the originality of the story and the distinctive look of the film. Yet it is not what I expected it to be. I guess I had some expectations from the movie; after all it generated quite a bit of media hype in the recent past…but at the end of the day, it wasn’t quite as fulfilling as thought it’d be. It is definitely very hatke, quite dark and sometimes funny without trying too hard (but one has to be quite conversant with Parsi humor to get the jokes!) I personally would have liked a little more background on Cyrus, because at the end of it all I still couldn’t fathom his motive!

For a debutante director Being Cyrus is definitely a very good effort. Keep up the good work Mr. Adajania!


indianpeppone said...

This is as good a review that i have come across....... U have something going here girl....

Nautilus said...

Thanks Rahul. Go watch it...its quite unique!

Lavanya said...

What do you do for a living? Review movies? You are a professional!! Awesome review!!

Nautilus said...

Thanks Lavanya. No girl, I'm no professional review writer...I don't intend to be one either! Have you seen the hordes of hate mail Raja Sen gets?! :-)

Lavanya said...

Rajan Sen is the rediff writer right? He's also awesome. Note the emphasis on also:-)

maya said...

cool review my friend. makes me want to see the movie...:-) Saif is a good actor.