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HindustanTimes Mon,21 Apr 2014

Rashid Irani review: Diana

Hindustan Times  New Delhi, October 05, 2013
First Published: 00:24 IST(5/10/2013) | Last Updated: 00:56 IST(5/10/2013)

Diana
Direction: Oliver Hirschbiegel
Actors: Naomi Watts, Naveen Andrews
Rating: *

A spectacularly misjudged biopic about the late Princess of Wales, Diana spans the last two years of her life leading up to the car crash in which she died. Adapted from the contentious 2000 book by Kate Snell, the atrocious script is infinitely quotable, dropping as it does clunker after clunker.

Her troubled marriage to Prince Charles is barely alluded to while her young sons are glimpsed only once in long shot. The focus is on Di's post-royalty relationship with a British-Pakistani heart surgeon (Andrews). After the good doctor rules out marriage, the heart broken Diana has a fling with Egyptian tycoon Dodi Fayed (Cas Anwar). Hoping to make the surgeon jealous, she even manipulates the paparazzi to publish photographs of Fayed and her together.

The film becomes increasingly preposterous the more it tries to hew to historical events. Diversions depicting Diana's globetrotting humanitarian work - the landmines photo-op in Angola; the AIDS-related fundraising in Sydney - border on camp.

The direction by Oliver Hirshbiegel (Downfall) is so devoid of snap that viewing his hagiographic treatment is more of a chore than a pleasure. The normally bankable Naomi Watts is lacklustre while Naveen Andrews as her conflicted paramour fits the bill. A sudsy look back at Britain's unhappy people's princess, Diana is a royal mess.

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