Page 3

page3.jpg Many Bollywood flims suffer from what I call the "second half" syndrome. The first half of the film actually works. Post intermission, however, it's a different story - literally. Usually ultra crappy. It's like the filmmakers had a contractual stipulation to deliver a three hour magnum opus but used up all their good ideas (and budget) in the first half. I could go on and on about this but for the time being, I'll just name two films, both made by talented directors, that fell prey to this: Abhay (directed by Kamal Hasan) and Jungle (Ram Gopal Verma).

Page 3 has the opposite problem. For the first sixty percent of the movie, I was wondering what precisely was the plot or the point as we meandered from one fashion show to another. Everybody onscreen seemed to be having a lot of fun. We, alas, weren't. Then an explosion occurred and the film tightened up considerably and actually seemed to head into interesting territory before ending a little abruptly. Page 3 intends to be an expose of the Mumbai glitterati - the folks who attend the glamour parties and of the journalists that cover said happenings for page three of the English newspapers. Konkona Sensharma plays a naive journalist that gets sucked by the hoi-polloi into their world before discovering, poor lamb, that they are not very nice people after all. Atul Kulkarni plays a reporter assigned to the crime beat of the same newspaper and is thus, naturally, a man of substance that can serve as a conscience to Ms. Sensharma (and often does). Before the blast occurred, I was thinking this film could effectively be summarized by the tagline "five parties, a funeral and a whole lotta moralizing", as it seemed too preachy yet exploitative, a classic case of trying to have your chaat and eat it too. Anyway, the post explosion events went a long way towards redeeming the film, but wasn't quite enough to rescue it completely. See Satta by the same director for a much more effective piece of filmmaking.

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- April 12, 2005 12:02 AM // Bollywood , Review