Apparently Paheli stands for "riddle" in Hindi. First, kudos to Amol Palekar, Shahrukh and Gauri Khan and the rest of the production team on the packaging. The costumes and sets shine, the dances are eye catching, the music is pleasant, and the CGI effects are mostly well blended into the narrative. Even the acting is nowhere near as over-the-top as could be expected. Paheli has been labeled as an experiment and, to its credit, it reaches for something a little different, namely infusing a touch of folksy magic into the story of a lonely newly-wedded wife whose husband has deserted her for family business but whose needs are filled by a ghost. Looking at the premise, it seems it would be hard to get more chick flick than this - not that there's anything wrong with that. But somehow, the whole combination just doesn't generate enough heat for lift-off. The whole affair is strangely leaden and that's the real mystery here. And yes, in case you are wondering, Amitabh Bachchan makes yet another guest appearance in his ongoing attempt to kill any desi version of Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon (tentatively titled Zero Degrees of Amitabh Bachchan).

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- January 4, 2006 10:38 PM // Bollywood , Review