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HindustanTimes Sat,23 Aug 2014

Review: Manorama Six Feet Under

Khalid Mohamed  Mumbai, September 21, 2007
First Published: 19:30 IST(21/9/2007) | Last Updated: 14:58 IST(16/5/2012)

Manorama Six Feet Under
Cast: Abhay Deol, Gul Panag, Raima Sen, Vinay Pathak
Direction: Navdeep Singh
Rating: ***

Miracles are possible. Another top-quality enterprise is here and that too, in the same week.

Honestly despite its tongue twisting title Manorama Two.. or is it?.. Six.. or Seven Feet Under is quite a little wonder – a smartly designed, intricately plotted film noir with something to say.

And pray what is that? Well, it’s essentially that a flop writer (Abhay Deol), to regain his self-worth, can actually becomes a socially concerned sleuth straight out of a Dashiel Hammet novel. Or should that be Roman Polanski’s Chinatown?

Whatever. Newbie director Navdeep Singh adopts a stealthy Coen Brothers-kind of style, swooping up and down the Rajasthan desertscapes. You crisscross then between a motley crew including the writer’s nag-nag wife (Gul Panag), a creepy politico (Kulbhushan Kharbanda grrrrrowling), bad doctors, mad cops and dear Sarika who pops up like a Jacqueline in the box, to yell, “If I die, just remember 32!”

Oi, that’s one of the unconvincing tricks of the screenplay. Why couldn’t Sarika just say what she had to clearly? Aaah but then there would have been no movie. Plus there are far too many loose strands and complicated explanations, leading to a somewhat flaccid ending. Also the tempo is ho-hum at points.

Photographed by Kannabiran again, undoubtedly the style’s the thing here. The whodun-why is superbly atmospheric and visually ravishing. Of the cast, Gul Panag even in a thankless role, is impressively lifelike. Above all, Abhay Deol is first-rate.. here’s an actor who has matured and radiates intelligence. Manorama (forget the feet business) adds up to a cool matinee.

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