Saturday, January 15, 2011

#32: Turning 30

Alankrita Shrivastava, the director of Turning 30 is a Prakash Jha protege having assisted him in movies like Gangaajal and Apaharan. What she brings to table though in the form of the chick flick Turning 30 is essentially a style that is refreshing and very different from that of her mentor's who banks more on gritty style of film-making.

Wearing the dual hat of the writer and the director, Alankrita uses the advertising fraternity and the city of Bombay to highlight the travails of Naina(Gul Panag) who's dumped on the eve of her 30th birthday by her longtime boyfriend, Rishabh (Sid Makkar). Things turn worse when professionally she ends up on the backfoot due to an advertising campaign that goes awry. The movie captures how Naina goes through this difficult phase in her life when people around her lose no time reminding her that turning 30 and being single is a shame. The other key character in the movie is Purab Kohli who is effortlessly charming in his turn as Jai- Naina's college sweetheart.

Gul Panag's renders an endearing performance as Naina as you easily end up sympathising with her mid-life crisis. The movie has a few heartwarming moments especially the ones between Naina and Jai that are replete with some neat insights about adult relationships. The supporting cast that includes two bubbly friends of Naina do justice to their roles and always seem to make you believe that these are the very kinds of friends you and I have in our daily lives. The fact that the characters converse in English gives it an overall slice-of-life feel that should work for metropolitan audiences.

The film however at times tries to do a bit too much with certain needless angles - an example is that of a lesbian couple thrown in bang in the middle of the movie for no good reason. Such temptation on the part of the director to pack more elements than just focusing on the main storyline tends to take away the sheen off the movie's central plot. Naina's 'jobless and menless' line is repeated so many times in the first half almost drumming it into the audience's head when everyone actually gets the plot within the first 20 minutes. While there's some merit in some of the potshots taken at the advertising fraternity, there is also a lot of liberty taken in exaggerating certain cliches. Also, the soundtrack is as mediocre as they come.

By itself, Turning 30 is what will count as an ok movie. For a debut writer-director though, this is a good effort and a commendable shot at making a new-age urban film. The biggest advantage of the movie is the fact that it's a simple, matter of factly relateable watch. It's surely worth it if you're actually a single woman turning 30 for it comes close in capturing the essence of the subject. The problem though is that it doesn't have anything that would make the experience of watching it memorable.

Rating: 5.9/10