Shab Review: Raveena Tandon and newbie Ashish Bisht shine in this appealingly premised film!
Onir’s new film Shab, starring Raveena Tondon, Ashish Bisht and Arpita Chatterjee, is strictly for the class audience.
Cast: Raveena Tandon,Ashish Bisht,Arpita Chatterjee,Simon Frenay,Areesz Ganddi,Raj Suri,Shray Rai Tiwari
One Line Review: The film very beautifully traces the lives of four individuals, and various upheavals and struggles of their personal lives.
Negative Points: Narrative of the film could have been structured in a more refined way. The story is not as briskly told as in Onir’s previous creations.
Plot: Aspiring model Mohan (Ashish Bisht) lands up in Delhi from Garhwal with a dream of making it big in the world of glitz and glamour. But little did he know that his naiveté, poor English and unfamiliarity with how the modelling world works will get him ousted from the competition. However, one of the juries on the panel, Sonal (Raveena Tandon) gets attracted to him and hires him to fulfil her carnal desires. Sonal Modi is stuck in a bad marriage but does not have the courage to get out of it. While her husband Vivek Modi (Sanjay Suri) is away on a business trip, she satiates her physical needs with Mohan, whom she renames as Afzar, and introduces to the world as her personal trailer. Though, the whole world knows he is her new boy-toy. Mohan / Afzar has no issue with getting laid with a much older woman to pay his bills and climb the ladder of success. But will his compromise pay off?
On the other hand is Raina/Afia who develops some feelings for her recently-shifted French neighbour Benoit. She works as a waitress in a cafe owned by his close friend Neel who is gay and is trying to get his life on track after his boyfriend ditches him to marry a girl. Raina, who herself stores some darker secret about her past, has no idea that Benoit, the man she has started liking, is also gay. What happens next forms the crux of the story.
Performances: The best part of Onir’s new offering is its cast. Everyone has delivered performances that look real and convincing. But the two artists who steal your hearts with their impressive acts are Raveena Tandon and Ashsih Bisht. A great performance was anyway expected from Raveena as she happens to be the most experienced one in the cast. But here she proves she still has a lot to be tapped and explored as an artist. We hope she keeps doing more films in future and impresses her fans with her peerless acting chops.
Debutant Ashsih has truly surprised. He gets into the skin of the character as if never to get out of it. From playing an innocent small-town guy to becoming a hip Delhi guy, his transformation is unbelievable. His expressions are really amazing. His is a performance that seduces you and shocks you at the same time. Talking about Arpita Chatterjee, who plays Raina in the film, she is good at her act. Supporting cast lends full support to the film.
In one word, the cast of Shab is every bit classy.
Direction: Onir is known for making films which touch your hearts on a personal level. My Brother… Nikhil, Bas Ek Pal and I Am are some of the best pieces of his repertoire. If you want to enjoy Shab, you will have to know where Onir’s strength lies as a storyteller and filmmaker. His stories are common yet complex. They are deep with no traces of superficiality. He talks about stories which exist but seldom find their way into mainstream cinema. Shab is also one such story. As a director, he handles the complexity of his character extremely well. While the plot is a bit shaky in parts, he manages to hold your attention with his style of storytelling. I personally feel that Shab is a better-directed film than it is written.
Technical Aspect: At the technical level, the film is above average. The cinematography of the film is good, but the pace of the film at some places is slow. Editing needed to be sharper.
Music: For Shab, Onir collaborates with his favourite music composer Mithoon who delivered some soul-stirring melodies for his film Bas Ek Pal. Mithoon proves his mettle once again as a composer by scoring some soothing tunes like O Saathi and Musafir. The music flows with the narrative of the film.
Final Verdict: If you have seen Onir’s previous films and are familiar with his style of filmmaking, then Shab can be a good watch for you. If you are looking for a mass entertainer, then Shab is not a film for you.