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Laaga Chunari Mein DaagLaaga Chunari Mein Daag : Movie Review
12th Oct 2007  21.36 IST
By Naresh Kumar Deoshi  

Laaga Chunari Mein Daag is a sentimental, tear-jerking saga with good performances and a few glitches.

If you have got a taste for extended soap operas, you would find Pradeep Sarkar's movie eminently watchable. The film is packed with emotions - both pleasant and turbulent. The protagonist at the centre of the story is a woman who sacrifices her own good for the better of her family.

No, it is not one of those regressive tales of self-sacrificing Bhartiya nari. Rather, the movie is a fairly well told, well crafted, visually rich, and quite credible story which you can easily empathize with. The only thing is - it is tad depressing. And the director takes a few liberties with the screenplay in the second half (at the fag end), making the entire story look like a farce.

The movie begins with a song (quite expected of a Yashraj presentation) on the banks of Ganga in Varanasi. We are introduced to two laughing, joyfully dancing girls - Badki ( Rani Mukherjee ) and Chutki ( Konkona Sen Sharma ), and their retired, pension-less father ( Anupam Kher ) and glum mother ( Jaya Bachchan ).

Their once palatial haveli is now in shambles, gradually collapsing due to lack of maintenance. While the father spends his money on lottery tickets (hoping for a stroke of good luck), the mother is apparently resigned to her fate. She grinds herself on a sewing machine to make ends meet for the family.

The family has no son, and that is the father's regret. If only Badki had been Bada beta, the family would not have been bullied by the dopey uncle (Tinu Anand) and his muscle-flexing son (Sushant Singh) who are fighting a legal battle over the haveli's possession.

The family finds itself pushed in financial crisis when the father's health goes down. Badki, a silent witness to her mother's constant struggle, decides to go to Mumbai to search for a job.

In Mumbai, Badki finds herself not qualified for any good job. To make matters worse, she is under increasing pressure to send some money home. Then, she gets an indecent proposal. What follows is her descent into a whirlpool from which there seems no escape, not even returning back home.

'Laaga Chunari Mein Daag' can be called a story of three women. Of course, the focus is primarily on Rani's character, Konkona and Jaya Bachchan too have ample footage in the narrative.

With Badki's financial contribution, Chutki (Konkona) does her MBA and comes to Mumbai to work in a marketing company where she meets Vivaan ( Kunal Kapoor ). The two eventually end up falling in love.

On the other hand, Jaya Bachchan is shown as a mute spectator to the household's newfound prosperity from Badki's blood money. Her conscience is not at peace, knowing well Badki's sacrifice and fall from grace.

The Abhishek Bachchan track seems deliberately squeezed into the narrative. His entry and disappearance in the first half is sudden. His re-entry in the second half is too coincidental.

Rani's performance in the film is at par with her set standard, but she offers nothing stellar. Konkona Sen, on the other hand, is simply superb. She is a natural. In fact, there is a scene in the film where she even towers over Rani. It is when she learns Rani's truth and breaks down in front of her.

Jaya Bachchan is a master of her craft. She speaks with her expressions. Kunal Kapoor is a delight to watch. His character is lighthearted, and Kunal plays it with conviction. Abhishek Bachchan is okay. Anupam Kher is passable. Sushant Singh is good.

To sum it up, 'Laaga Chunari Mein Daag' is a fairly watchable film. Its story has an emotive appeal, its music is non-intrusive and cinematography is enchanting.

However, director Pradeep Sarkar falters at many places in between. Firstly, he does not develop Abhishek's character enough. Even the bad guys - Sushant Singh and Tinu Anand - make fleeting appearances in the narrative. And then, at the film's fag end, the director twists the proceedings to the story's convenience as he hastily brings a happy ending to the otherwise sad story.

Recommended to those who like tear jerkers.

Rating: **1/2

Laaga Chunari Mein Daag
Rani Mukherjee
Konkona Sen Sharma
Anupam Kher
Jaya Bachchan
Kunal Kapoor
Abhishek Bachchan
Sushant Singh
Pradeep Sarkar

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