Review: In 2011 Bejoy Nambiar made his debut with Shaitan. An off-beat psychotic thriller that got him noticed by all the right people. This year he returns with David. What a pleasant and beautiful surprise Mr. Nambiar. Unexpected but thoroughly enjoyable. I see a genius in the making here. Two films down and I am a huge fan. Maybe not of his skills as a writer. Not yet at least. But otherwise, Kashyap move over, someone is encroaching into your territory (and he has a better cinematographer).
David in not in the same league as Shaitan. It deals with multiple emotions that will take you on a gripping ride across three different eras shot so beautifully, you will be left wanting more. Three stories that put together are surreal, playful, charming yet intense and vengeful. However, the three stories are presented in rapid cuts; cuts that are not jarring or crude per say, but could have been smoother. They needed to be effortlessly tied together. Plus the interconnection between the three stories in not convincing enough. But one can easily overlook that considering the beauty of the cinematography, the magnetism in the direction and the strength of the performances.
1975 London, a 30-year-old David played by Neil Nitin Mukesh is the protege of a mafia don. Shot entirely in black and white, this is the most cinematically and musically brilliant section of the movie. Neil Nitin Mukesh walks about handsomely in slow motion, expressions somber and revered when required and devilishly charming even with a smoking gun in his hand. Dashingly handsome and not bad with the acting skills at all, this is good casting for the role. Monica Dongra (Dhobi Ghat) as his fearless lover within a conservative Muslim mafia family in the 70’s delivers a solid performance as well.
1999 Mumbai, David guitarist (a deadlocked Vinay Virmani) who is struggling to make it big in the music industry. He does a good job as a young boy whose dreams are shattered by the corrupt underbelly of the city. A city whose lower middle class was the worst hit in the 90’s by the corrupt politicians who wrecked havoc in the name of religion. Both these stories have a well explored father- son relationship that was endearing to watch. Note to other Bollywood filmmakers: this is how you develop characters. This is how you make the audience feel for them. Nasser as David guitarists’ father stands out in a small role.
Then comes our third David who stays in contemporary Goa, 2010. Played by a talented Vikram, this David loves his drink, his mother and his father who is long dead and still tags along with David as a SPIRITed companion only he can see (Beautiful Mind much?) This is the lightest, funniest and most charming section of the film. A man who was left at the alter by his to- be wife, who is a kind and loving soul but misunderstood by all except one friend. Frenny is her name (Tabu). Tabu delivers a bindas performance as a Goan masseuse who is David’s only adviser and friend. Small role, big impact.
To sum it up, the highlights of the film are so many. Small scenes that touch your heart. When David guitarists’ father starts scratching himself in pain while shaving etc. Special mention for Nambiar’s trademark style of shooting action sequences with songs. You can’t help smiling when you see Remo Fernandez belt out Maria Pitache while a drunk Vikram gets into a brawl at a seaside bar. It’s somewhere in between funny and appealing. But the best music was reserved for the romantic track between David and Noor (Neil Nitin Mukesh and Monica Dongra). The perfect song for the almost old school 70’s secret romance. The music is another exceptional plus that gives it the extra boost. Our favorite DJ/VJ Nikhil Chinapa makes a very shocking cameo as well. You will enjoy it. It is very unlike him.
All in all, just go watch it. If not for anything else, then simply for the beautiful cinematography and musical action set pieces.
Verdict: Stylistically treated action & emotionally rich. Nambiar scores another winner!
Release Date: Feb 1, 2013
Director: Bejoy Nambiar
Genre: Action, Drama
Run time: 2 hrs 9 mins
Cast & Crew: Vikram, Lara Dutta, Tabu, Neil Nitin Mukesh, Jiiva, Vinay Virmani, Isha Sharvani, Anupama Kumar