Banner: Anticlock Films
Producers: Sanjay Suri, Bhavna
Talwar, Onir and Mohan T Mulani
Cast: Raveena Tandon, Ashish Bisht,
Sanjay Suri, Arpita Chatterjee,
Writers: Merle Kröger, Onir
Shab, directed by Onir, is an engaging drama that does not disappoint. Weaving together the lives of four characters, Shab introduces actor Ashish Bisht, who marks a strong debut.
The film tells the tale of Mohan later christened Azfar (Ashish Bisht), a small-town lad who walks into a rather gruesome city world, like many others, hoping to make it big as a model. His path crosses socialite Sonam (Raveena), who disses him at first, only to slyly promise him a space in the world of glamour. A glorified toy boy, a determined Azfar makes his way to where he envisioned himself.
Between living the life he dreamt of and a lie he refuses to confront, Azfar encounters Raina (Arpita Chatterjee), a friend and companion he yearns for. Raina, a strong-willed woman, has battles of her own to fight and finds solace in Azfar’s companionship and her neighbour Benoit (Simon Frenay). Benoit, on the other hand, has his own demons that he must face. What ensues, as the seasons change is the well-crafted deconstruction of the layers of each of the characters as they battle their own reality and that of others.
The truth is, it will always be difficult to describe the intricacy of the story that Shab holds and the simplicity with which the film flows, uncovering each of its characters as they interact and discover each other through their interactions.
The film is Onir’s most intricate work to date and the time spent crafting each character is evident. The soulful music of the film adds volumes to the product. Shab is skillfully crafted and executed. It does have its flaws but the strong performances and Sachin Krishn’s cinematography allow you to overlook them.
Where the film falters a tad is in its edit, which it makes up for in story and execution. There is no taking away the fact that this is a strong film filled with strong characters we have all lived or encountered at some point or the other in some form or the other. The maturity and sensitivity with which Onir handles the film sets it apart, and kudos to him for that.
Performance-wise, the film belongs to Ashish Bisht, who proves his mettle. There is an effortless charm and honesty in his portrayal of his character. Raveena Tandon nails her character and delivers one of her strongest performances, despite the slightly stereotypical nature of her character as the socialite. She owns each frame. French actor Simon Frenay lights up the screen with his presence and does justice to his role as does Arpita Chatterjee as Raina. Sanjay Suri and Areesz Ganddi also do justice to their parts as Sonam’s husband and Neil, respectively.
Verdict: Worth a dekho!